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EMINENT ASIANS 



1 



BY THE SAME AUTHOR 

By Josep Washtngtoh Hall (Upton Close) 

An Outline History of China (with Dr H H Gowen) 

“The Influence of Pacific Asian Poetry on American Verse” 

(in Braxthwaite’s Anthology, Se»quicentennial Edition) 

‘'Joy-iady — Chinese Play” (adapted translation, m Drama, May, 

IQ28) 

Eminent Asians 

B’k Upton Close (Josef Waspiington Hall) 

In the Land of the Laughing Buddha 
The Revolt of Asia 
Moonlady (a novel) 

And sundry articles, verses, and songs 






EMINENT ASIANS 

Stx Qreat 'Personahties of the €ast 

BY 

JOSEF WASHINGTON HALL 

(“UPTON CLOSE”) 



PORTRAIT DRAWINGS BY 
ORRE NOBLES 


NEW YORK AND LONDON 
D. APPLETON AND COMPANY 
1929 



COPYRIGHT 1929 BY 

D APttETON AND COMPANY 


PRINTED IN THE tTMTlD '^T^TrS OF AMERICA 



DEDICATED 

TO THAT INNER GLOW OF ESSENTIAL HUMANNESS 
WHICH SHINES WITH THE SAME WARMTH THROUGH 
ANY PIGMENT FOR THe'?7''ALSO ARE MEN 




CONTENTS 


PROLOGUE 
Page I 

SUN YAT-SEN 
Page g 

YAMAGATA AND ITO 
Page loi 

MUSTAPHA KEMAL 
Page 24? 

JOSEF STALIN 
Page ssp 

MAHATMA GANDHI 
Page 3?g 




ILLUSTRATIONS 


PRINCE ITO 

ftonUsptece 

PAGE 

SUN YAT-SEN 

10 

YAMAGATA 

102 

MUSTAPHA KEMAL 

248 

JOSEF STALIN 

340 

MAHATMA GANDHI 

CO 

0 




PROLOGUE 

n?ersonahty m <^sm 




I NDIVIDUALISM is subdued m the East There 
IS no word for “personality” in the Chinese lan- 
guage Asia’s lack of emphasis upon this fetish 
of the Occidental world reveals one of the profound 
divergencies m spirit between East and West 
The Western poet egoistically explains the universe 
in terms of himself His Oriental brother fulfills the 
craving for self-revelation only as he can insinuate per- 
sonal moods into the repose or mutation of Nature 
Hence arises the ethereal delicacy of Eastern lyricism 
But, as beauty is often attended by weakness, the Ori- 
ental subduing of egoism results in a rarity of forceful 
leadeiship among Asian peoples 
.The emphasis the West has put upon personality is 
most obvious in religious thought While China and 
India worshiped impersonal forces, personality became 
the prime attribute of the Occidental’s God — evidenced 
not merely in crude anthropomorphism but more pro- 
foundly in the Deity’s way of speaking to his people 
“Thus saith the Lord, Thou shalt not” represents God 
as the very essence of Personality This god spoke to 
his servants and commissioned them to launch causes 
for him Their personalities were made the more rugged 
under the sense of a Supreme Personality directing 
them 

The effect might be either for good or evil, but it has 

[ 3 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


lent a definiteness and certain awfulness to most great 
men of the West He who conceives that God is with 
him (or he is with God — it is the same in the outwork- 
ing) speaks with a conviction and fights with a ruthless- 
ness denied to the man who relies for sanction merely 
upon his own reason, altruism or ambition, or the wis- 
dom of his fathers Thus, leaders of the West, speaking 
generally, have wrought either greater misery or more 
drastic good for their societies than have their con- 
temporaries of the East 

I use the terms East and West in a philosophic sense, 
in which I would set down Judaism and Muhammad- 
anism as Western — ^is not the former one of the roots 
of European thought^ And I must crave exception for 
individuals like Genghis Khan who were purely primi- 
tive minds uninfluenced by either Eastern or Western 
philosophic thought But as regards cultujred societies 
history bears out my generalization On the debit side 
China or India have never produced a Xavier or a 
Luther or a Cromwell or a Lincoln, on the credit side 
neither have they produced an Inqmsitor nor a Richelieu 
nor a Kaiser Wilhelm — nor yet an Anthony Comstock 
nor a Grand Cyclops 

“Not peace, but a sword,” attended the teachings 
of the rather Oriental Jesus when fitted to the psy- 
chology of vigorous and intolerant Western civilization 
In so far as we can catch its nuances, the spirit of Jesus 
sounds more in time with those of harmony-seekmg 
Confucius or pitying, frailty-excusing Gautama, or Mo 

[ 4 ] 



PROLOGUE 

Dee (Meh Ti), Chinese advocate of the doctrine of 
love, than with the spirits of the fanatical Jews from 
which he sprang or the driving, organizing Paul or the 
dialectical St Augustine Christ had a sublime opti- 
mism and emotional quality lacked by the Oriental 
sages — ^more “personality,” perhaps, yet he also lacked 
the militancy and “no compromise” which is the strength 
of our Western heroes 

Asian leaders for the most part have been mellowed, 
and therefore weakened by a sense of their own in- 
significance and fallibility They have largely lacked 
the sublime but fortifying arrogance to appropriate God 
as founder of their causes and justifier of their methods 
They have humbly accepted the assumption, basis of 
all Oriental philosophy, that mankind, in the whole, 
knows more than the most brilliant teacher They have 
told their audiences not “The Lord spake unto me,” 
buf “Thus and so do the lives of men mdicate Look 
m your own hearts ” The individual lacked sanction 
to transform society Society, ideahzed, was to con- 
form him 

Such IS the tradition of Asian leadership Looking 
backward through five millenniums of Asian history, we 
discern a few towering men who have either triumphed 
over this handicap and built their prestige upon their 
very ability to flout it, or, on the other hand, have 
assented to it, mcorporated it in their appeal and made 
it the pillar of their eminence Of the first group is 
Chin Shih Huang Ti, who, emulating, a century later, 

[S] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


Alexander the Great, apostatized from Chinese scholar- 
worship and crushed Chinese group independence, 
leaving a “fame” indicated by the desire of every 
Chinese passer-by to share the pleasure of befouling 
his grave But he built the longest-lived empire m 
history Of the first group in another realm is the heter- 
odox philosopher Hsun-tzu, who considered it betrayal 
of his being to give one hair of his head to save civiliza- 
tion Of the same also are Hideyoshi, who built the 
Japanese nation against its will, and Muhammad, who 
triumphed not only m accomplishment but in the hearts 
of his people Of the second group are Confucius the 
ethical teacher, Mencius the political constitutionalist, 
and Gautama the Buddha or Enlightened One Lead- 
ers of the latter type, I would have it understood, did 
not escape opposition and even persecution But their 
conflict was with individuals and perverted interpreta- 
tions, not with the Spirit of Asia 
Out of the Eastern soil producing such leadership, but 
blown upon by terrific new winds from the West, have 
grown the personalities of modern Asia which we here 
view They have been warped by the strange gales, but 
they have also acqmred a stiength and a vigor not pos- 
sessed by their predecessors This is notably the case 
with Mustapha Kemal Sun Yat-sen, viewed from old 
China, is indeed warped by a foreign pragmatism, but 
he gained an unconquerable confidence therefrom 
Yamagata and Ito, the temporary compromises in whose 
perpetual feud determined modern Japan, escaped to 

[ 6 ] 



PROLOGUE 

greater degree than the others the stress of conflict 
between the Eastern and Western minds, because they 
belonged to that Oriental people which m its direct 
attack upon problems and its liteial-mmdedness is semi- 
Occidental Mahatma Gandhi stands upon a spiritual 
base so eternal that storms of criticism scarcely do 
more than refresh his countenance Yet there is clearly 
revealed m him a composite of two influences He 
provides an impressive evidence that the peace and 
fortitude of the East can unite with the vigor and 
hokum-killing directness of the West If enough men 
arise, m both East and West, who can thus unite the 
best from both (it need not always be the same best) 
we shall have hope of a new civilization 

In the wide view of ultimate effect upon the thought 
and environment of humanity the makers of new Asia 
are probably the most important figures of this age 
THeirs is, from the West’s own standpoint, the greatest 
synchrony of political movements since the establish- 
ment of democracy, and of cultural movements since 
the Renaissance They are transforming Asia from an 
idyl into a force They are leading the world’s largest 
continent and some of its most gifted races from what 
we Westerners, at least, have chosen to regard as a side 
show into the mam ring of the world’s circus 
And as these unadorned sketches, written from sources 
in a half dozen of the world’s obscure languages and 


^ — which, however, are yet to become as frecjuently tatight among us as 
German and French 

[71 



EMlNJiJNl AblAJNij 


out of table talk and anecdotes of the road in every 
country of Asia, will show, they also are men 
I have seen the reading of a Chmese lyric do more 
to remove the blindness that threatens to destroy our 
world than an entire course of sermons against race 
prejudice Lyrics and lives — these lift the hood off the 
lamp of the human spirit within all men The incon- 
sequential pigment of their skins is not enough to so 
much as tint its glow 



SUN YAT-SEN 

Z(S65-/p25 





I 

T hose of us who saw Sun Yat-sen’s quixotic 
struggles, reported his bombastic statements 
for a supercilious press, and felt, in our little 
pride, embarrassed at his puerilities, now begin to 
realize that one of those life dramas which bring into 
being the world’s demigods was playing before our eyes 
A peasant boy goes to far islands where he learns 
the wisdom and magic of a strange and ruthless people 
A dreaming youth conceives a crusade against a power- 
ful and wicked throne From behind a surgeon’s apron, 
a young revolutionist strikes at the earth’s oldest mon- 
archy An unknown student invades a palace to point 
the way of Righteousness to the mightiest satrap in the 
empire Outlawed, he drifts around and around the 
globe, a price of a half million dollars, the largest ever 
offered for a man, on his head With suddenly re- 
cruited cohorts he descends to wreak vengeance upon 
tyrants — disappearing mysteriously as they rally 
against him Still he is captured once and again He 
gams his freedom with no other weapons than his 
earnest voice and compelling logic Suddenly the 
outlaw is called back by an acclaiming nation to be its 
First Citizen ’^ith impressive ceremony he announces 
to the spirits of the anaent heroes that he has liberated 
the ancestral land 


[ 11 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


But fame and power are not the end of this story 
As the true drama must, it continues into heroic frus- 
tration For the good of his people, the “Great Soul” 
abdicates his place in favor of a contemporary But 
he discovers that himself and the people have been 
betrayed and rises in wrath to annihilate the offender 
Hq fails, and is left tragically struggling against treach- 
ery in his own ranks and ridicule from the world 
At the lowest ebb of fortune his lonely heart is 
strengthened by union with one of the most beautiful 
and gifted women of his race She inspires his appeal 
to his people and comforts his life Once more, and 
once more again, he gams a foothold and reestablishes 
his power in his native district, only to come into dis- 
favor there Whereupon he progresses to the scornful 
enemy capital which for thirty years had sought his 
life, and enters it a triumphal hero — to succumb imijie- 
diately, just in time to escape a tragic reverse, to a 
long-flouted disease and die quietly among worshiping 
disciples And his cause marches on amid the scoffing 
of a supercilious world to consummation 

Sun was summoned from life’s stage at the right 
moment to insure fame Fate grants to few such favor 
President Harding was most fortunate. Presidents Wil- 
son and Roosevelt were not Two weeks more of life 
would have left Sun Yat-sen an inglorious victim upon 
the altar of his opportunistic trust of rogues Death 
brought suspension of popular judgment Then the 
hot-headed act of a British pohce inspector m Shanghai 

[ 12 ] 



SUN YAT-SEN 

set all China aflame, rallying support to an obscure and 
erstwhile hopeless military movement launched by the 
crusader as one of his last experiments The Nationalist 
army swept the coimtry, carrying as conquering ensign 
the enlarged photograph of the “Sainted Doctor ” 

Sun Yat-sen is thus made the father of a renewed 
nation He becomes its Lenin, its George Washing.ton, 
its Napoleon In China’s pantheon he already ranks 
with Chu Yuan-chang, who overthrew the Mongol tyr- 
anny five hundred years ago He did not have to await 
the approval of generations of scholars for beatifica- 
tion as did that first Ming emperor, for in his new 
age such honor is bestowed, as with us in the West, 
by publicity 

Since it so happened that the spectacular uprising of 
China marked the arrival of all Asia at consciousness 
of revolt against the hitherto dominant race. Sun Yat- 
sen becomes the inspirer of a continent He is the model 
rebel, the ideal expression in an individual life of the 
resentment and aspiration of the colored races To-day 
his name is used as a spur m Japan, Indo-Chma, the 
Dutch East Indies, Siam, India, Iraq, and Eg3q3t Rus- 
sia eulogizes him, and the Third Internationale founds 
a university for education of Asiatics named with his 
famous alias, “Chung Shan ” This may be chiefly 
“for export,” but it is sincere in so far as Russia feels 
herself a member of the confraternity of the snubbed 
With divergencies suitable to another time and conti- 
nent, Sxm becomes the Bolivar of Asia. 

[ 13 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


Indeed a story for saga-singers and dramatists’ 

Sun died March 12, 192 S Already the myths are 
gathering about him, particularly furthered by the new 
intelligentsia of China, a class which had boasted itself 
impervious to hero worship It is so with Lenin We 
read in the pamphlets of the Kuommtang Party — which 
was critical enough during his life, yet, like many a 
widow, now permits no hint of imperfection in the 
lamented one — that he failed ten times, but was never 
wrong We are told of a prodigy who before the age 
often had set himself to overthrow not only the Manchu 
Dynasty, but Superstition and Inequality as well We 
see a boy hero m turned-up shoes leading a family re- 
bellion against the binding of his sister’s feet He then 
named himself, say these unsophisticated eulogies, the 
second Hung Hsiu-chuan — the rebel who ^started out 
to establish the reign of Taiping (Eternal Peace) but 
ended by causmg the death of two million fellow coun- 
trymen The youthful Sun’s idol-smashing exploit in 
the village temple is as much elaborated upon as George 
Washington’s cherry tree adventure In place of the 
crossing of the Delaware we have the revolutionary 
doctor being let down over the walls of Canton in a 
coolie’s carrying-basket His escape from his kidnap- 
ers in Lond ranks with Napoleon’s flight from Elba 
as material for ro^mancers One thing will hinder the 
saga-smgers It is difficult to spin the golden web of 
fancy about the humorless, heavy portraits scattered 

[14] 



SUN YAT-SEN 


like the leaves of autumn which probably outnumber 
even those of Lenin and Mussolini One wonders if — 
had there been illustrated sections and publicity bureaus 
in the days of Washington and Napoleon — these heroes 
would have inspiied such reverence 

Sun Yat-sen’s life was a reversal of traditional 
Chinese philosophic attitude , his deification is a* re- 
versal of the too common Chinese trait of amiably 
doubting all human excellence Only a career more 
dramatic than fiction could have induced the earth’s 
most experienced and sophisticated nation to give way 
to this unrestrained adulation 

But there is an element in Sun’s career more signifi- 
cant than his dizzying shifts of fortune or spectacular 
arrival at fame His development provides the most 
arresting warning yet given us of the paradoxical effects 
ot the impact of West upon East No life ever ran 
a greater gamut Sun Yat-sen was begotten by a Chris- 
tian father, an employee of the London Missionary 
Society which, as things went m China of the past 
century, meant a protege of Great Britain Yet Sun 
died a bitter enemy of “missionary” Christianity, and 
wrought as much damage to the British Empire as any 
individual who ever lived He was brought up under 
the influence of Western civilization and was one of its 
most effective champions in China, but came to rebel 
against its present social inequalities as vigorously as 
against dynastic tyranny He popularized European 
dress for men, a style with military collar being named 

[IS] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


after him, but in later years he reverted to the tradi- 
tional gown with a pleasure almost pathetic China’s 
fiist graduate in modern medicine, he turned when 
facing death to the native doctors 

He was personally gentle and forgiving as a child, 
yet few men have set more ruthless and bloody forces 
in motion He began as a prophet of democratic politi- 
cal thought in China, and ended as the organizer of a 
new oligarchy designed to lash a sluggish people into 
unyearned-for reform Yet h^ continued to proclaim 
“people’s power ” He was quite as frank, but not as 
analytic, as Mussolini 


II 

Soft ram fell over a little plain knee-deep in close- 
standing rows of lush rice stalks Among, the paddy 
fields, determining the slope for their water supply, 
rose a hummock whiskered with cane and tufted with 
bamboo Since this was in the flat delta of the Pearl 
River, men dignified it, calling it Hsiang Shan, or 
Fragrant Mountain At its base, on the side called 
Blue Valley, stood a cluster of huts framed of bamboo 
and walled with cane, split and woven from the hum- 
mock and thatched with straw from the paddy field 
Before each house was a courtyard fenced by a scrub 
bamboo hedge Here would stand a straw mat shed for 
the buffalo, neat cocks of rice straw, a crude wooden 
plow and seeder, and in the center, surrounded by the 

[ 16 ] 



SUN YAT-SEN 


pounded-earth-and-lime threshing floor, the two great 
stone husking disks 

One courtyard was entered by a two-leaved gate 
done in bright pig’s-blood enamel decorated with gold 
and supported by brick pillars — a mark of special afflu- 
ence For, as any of the straw-sandaled villagers would 
ask you — ^by way of explanation — was not its venerable 
master the father of a son who had “effulged foreign 
wealth” in the Incense Islands (Hawaii) ? And in addi- 
tion to that signal fortune, did he not benefit to the 
extent of four ounces of silver per month from the 
Public Righteousness Concern (Church Missionary So- 
ciety) for distributing the Foreign Devils’ holy books 
through the countryside? The ancient Mr Sun (ac- 
tually in late middle age) was a communicant of the 
strange religion, although the lithographed god-protec- 
tors of day and night still clung — one on each leaf — 
to'his gate 

As the genie, who, in his cave in the Ancient Hills, 
keeps the record of the sojourns of spirits in this earthly 
sphere, was turning up a clean page for a new entry, 
this paternal Mr Sun sat in his brick-floored library- 
bedroom listening to the soft swish of the rain on the 
sea of standing gram and its gentle crackle on the 
thatch overhead 

Eventually the midwife came and knelt with her 
clenched fists together in congratulation “Fortune, 
AncieAtness,” she shrilled “A son’ Thrice brilliant 
is the child of full years Thus did Confucius and 

[ 17 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


the other sages enter the world Now you may look 
forward to decrepitude with tranquillity ” 

As if to satirize the thought, a wail came from the 
raised platform in the next room 

Mr Sun wet his ink brush with his lips, worked it 
to a point on the ink slab, and drew to his hand the 
cloth-cased book of family genealogy The date was 
November 12, 1866 The new scion was set down by 
number only until such time as he should receive from 
his schoolmaster his “designatory name” — descriptive 
of his budding character 

A child of so much hope, however, did seem to de- 
serve a special personal name, and this matter the 
paternal ancestor took up with his quiet, determined, 
and task-pursuing wife as soon as she was up and about 
“The birth of this boy,” he harangued her, “must be 
assurance of heaven's returning favor Mayhap the 
years of disquiet are at last at an end The Dragon 
Throne is now again secure and we may hope for an 
era of tranquillity ahead ” 

The “inside person” paused at her noodle board 
“Then let us call him Yat-sen, Tairy of Tranquilhty,’ ” 
she harmonized The ever listening Old Man of 
the Mountain must have cocked an eye toward the 
child’s future and laughed 
The storm clouds which the parents hoped had blown 
over hung low and real in the growing boy’s mental 
universe He listened pensively near the tea table while 
the “ancient heads” told tales of the first war between 

[18] 



SUN YAT-SEN 


nations of the white and yellow races (1842), m which 
British “lightning boats” demonstrated the destructive 
power of the hitherto lightly regarded barbarian, and 
forced trade and opium upon a haughty and unappeased 
officialdom Younger adventurers, including the village 
schoolmaster, his uncle, recounted experiences in the 
fanatical campaign of Hung Hsiu-chuan, who, announc- 
ing himself the brother of the foreigners’ god, Jesus 
Christ, and the inaugurator of the era of Tat Pmg or 
Great Peace, swept from Canton to Tientsin and men- 
aced Manchu authority from 1850 to 1862 In the 
midst of this the foreign devils had broken into Peking 
and desecrated the very seat of the Son of Heaven 
Traders and soldiers passing through the hamlet told of 
steady French encroachments in the nearby Indo- 
Chinese dependencies The serious and responsive lad’s 
cheeks burned His gorge rose against a Dragon Throne 
which was too weak and craven to protect its people 
from shame 

Thirty miles from Fragrant Mountain was swarming 
Canton, terminus of Arab sea trade since the ninth 
century, now metropolis of middle Pacific Asia Down 
in the delta lay Macao, transformed by license of its 
Portuguese governors into the gambling and opium den 
of the Orient Beyond the Pirate Islands off the delta 
towered Hongkong Peak, new Gibraltar of white su- 
premacy in the East 

Letters came now and then from the elder brother, 
relating his contact with the sons of American mis- 

[19] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


sionaries who were supplanting the dynasty of Kame- 
hameha in the Incense Islands Missionaries visited 
the hamlet and young Sun went frequently with his 
fathei to their impressive compounds at Canton, where 
English and American ladies were attracted by his 
eagerness and taught him his first phrases of the for- 
eign devils’ magic language Sun Yat-sen was to be the 
first of China’s immortals chiefly molded by exotic 
influences 

However, he learned the native soil — too well ever to 
forget it He plowed the family paddy fields and went 
to the school of the village literatus There flared his 
first rebellion — against its traditional regimen of punc- 
tilious memorization and unthinking repetition His 
puzzled father, too old and tired to guide such a fiery 
disposition, debated apprenticing him to the village 
coffin maker At this crisis his prosperous elder brothel 
arrived on a visit to the ancestral shrine The brother 
offered to take the young misfit back with him to the 
far islands The lad cried with loy and the hamlet 
breathed sighs of relief 

In Honolulu, at the age of thirteen, he entered, 
thanks to his father’s sectarian connection, the Bishop’s 
School, where he won a medal for scholarship presented 
by the King of Hawaii in person — ^justification for 
taking as ‘‘scholarly name” Wen — “Literary ” As Sun 
Wen, rather than Sun Yat-sen, his own country came 
to know him He graduated into a higher school named 
after Saint Louis Here he was baptized into the re- 

[ 20 ] 



SUN YAT-SEN 

ligion proffered by his kind and zealous teachers As 
with many students of Christian schools in both Chris- 
tian and heathen lands, social motives rather than def- 
inite religious conviction influenced him Yet on the 
route back to China at the age of eighteen he carried 
a Bible, reading it desperately 

The sudden ending of his placid Hawaiian experience 
is explained in his brother’s letter to the mother, ndw 
head of the house “Mmg-day (“Brilliant Virtue” — 
Sun’s intimate name) is becoming too foreignized,” he 
reports A family which had accepted Christianity, 
and all its break with the native life — ^much greater a 
half-century ago than now — ^still declined to see a mem- 
ber deculturized In view of the fact that his clan at 
once arranged his marriage to a woman sumamed Lu, 
betrothed to him in childhood, we may suspect that 
one indication of the foreignization feared was an in- 
dependent love affair 

Raw from adolescent disappointment, seeking solace 
in the foreigner’s religion, young Sun arrived in Hong- 
kong — to come sharp against the foreigner’s arrogance 
Here and at Canton English officers of the Chinese cus- 
toms service subjected him and his Chinese fellow 
travelers to humiliating inspections, while “white” pas- 
sengers were waved past At an age when young Ameri- 
cans scarcely think of social or political questions Sun 
was returning to his country with definite ideas of 
material prosperity, personal liberty, and national dig- 
nity His indignation over discrimination against his 

[ 21 ] 



eminent ASIANS 

people within their Ancestral Land gave him a cause 
to live for Many a man, no doubt, has been goaded 
into the spirit of revolution by customs-house experi- 
ences, but this tiff between white-starched officials and 
pig-tailed youth was to become an event in the decline 
of white supremacy m the world Sun Wen went to 
his village and brooded That year the Manchu em- 
peror gave up Annam to the French The Manchu 
ruling clan at Peking could not save its people from 
“eating humiliation ” 

Photography was just becoming a fad in China Stiff 
portraits of Sun, taken at this time, show him a sweet- 
faced, sensitive-mouthed, querulous-eyed youth in con- 
ventional Chinese costume, including skull cap and 
queue His features weie of the true, round-faced 
Chinese tsqie — much less “Tartar” than those of the 
Mongohzed Chinese of the North — a circumstance 
which permitted the baseless rumor that his was miSecT 
blood Open sincerity and naive self-assurance — always 
his charm — ^are already apparent The sciaggly mus- 
tache which later hid his fine mouth was not yet m 
evidence, nor had the wistfulness of his countenance 
been obliterated by the sagging lines of suffering and 
egomania which record themselves so depressingly in 
later portraits 

After Sun had gone through the ceremonies of bowing 
with the Lu woman before his father’s tablet, his 

mother, the mud cooking range, and the woven cane bed, 

[ 22 ] 



SUN YAT-SEN 

which formally installed her in the ancestral home, 
he was set to clerking behind the high counter of the 
village pawnshop, whose sign was the “Six Stars ” He 
did his work dutifully and won the esteem of his em- 
ployers, but could not refrain from challenging country- 
side traditions The docility and superstition of the 
peasants galled him, and he lacked either sense of hurpor 
or indifference to ignore them Irritated to supreme 
protest, he climbed through the sun-shot haze of a 
spnng morning to the tmy shrme hidden in the bamboos 
of Fragrant Mountain and pushed over the terrible- 
visaged mud Protector of the district But instead of 
acclaiming the young iconoclast, the villagers intimated 
to his sponsors that his further presence among them 
would be interpreted as intentional imposition upon 
their tolerance 

, The two. village elders who owned the pawnshop 
summoned their disruptive apprentice to “face the 
chest,” which is the Chmese equivalent for being “on 
the green carpet ” “We don’t believe in idols any 
more than you do,” they advised “But we don’t con- 
cern ourselves m the matter Our business is storing 
goods on commission, not correcting the beliefs of the 
people ” 

Sun eyed them determinedly “Then continue to 
make that your business. Honored Grandfathers,” he 
said “I’ll make the latter mine ” 

They tried once more “Indifference is a high virtue 

[ 23 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


But a sense of humor can, to an extent, take its place 
Can’t you laugh at the folk-ways, if you cannot ignore 
them?” 

“I see nothing to laugh at,” replied the young clerk 

They considered him calmly “Probably the new age 
lequiies a man like you,” they said “You are likely 
to. become great Here is your fare to Hongkong, and 
if you are ever in need, call on us, but don’t stay in 
our village ” 

The Elders took the trouble to interpret Sun’s es- 
capade in a favorable light to his overseas brother This 
important person, now economic head of the house, 
supplied means for further schooling He was even- 
tually to place his entire resources at the disposal of 
Sun’s cause These three who were closest to him 
became Sun’s first converts, and Chinese revolutionary 
scnptuie honors them with designations specially giyem 
by the Master “Fathers of Racial Dignity” and “Elder 
Brother of the Republic ” 

Sun spent two years in the “Imperial Benevolence 
Academy” (the benevolence of Queen Victoiia, not the 
Son of Heaven) and Hongkong Academy, then gradu- 
ated at the head of his class Medical missionaries in 
Canton offered him an apprenticeship and he donned 
the doctor’s white apron Then Dr James Cantlie 
opened a medical school in connection with Alice 
Memorial Hospital, Hongkong, later amalgamated with 
Hongkong University Sun again crossed to the pre- 
cipitous island and after five years’ study, in 1892 , 

[ 24 ] 



SUN YAT-SEN 

was turned out the first graduate of modern medicine 
in China 

Hongkong was the tiysting place of idealistic students 
and disappointed older men The returned student, 
the Oriental who had studied abroad, was just begin- 
nmg to be a factor in affairs Japan had been remade 
by this class into a united, if still untried, nation Sun 
Yat-sen’s tendencies led him into association with the 
returned students who naturally believed the throne 
should commission them to modernize China, or, failing 
that, should be overthrown He and three youths who 
sat up nights changing the world, became known among 
the younger set as “The Four Rebels ” The three 
gradually resigned themselves to money-making and 
the lordship of harems, but Sun was in deadly earnest 
and utterly blmd to other interests He was the first 
4nan of modern China to make reform a sole career 

Probably through his two old sponsors of Fragrant 
Mountain, Sun had received passwords to the great 
Chinese secret soaeties These Masonic bodies of 
China, known as the White Lilies, the Triads and the 
Elder Brothers, ramified into every village, controlling 
gmld and commune administration, and often official- 
dom They were particularly strong in South China 
and among the millions of overseas Chinese in Malaysia, 
the Dutch East Indies and the Philippines, and in the 
communities of the Americas and Europe Having 
supported the remnants of the Ming dynasty m a des- 
perate struggle against the Manchu conquerors, the 

[ 25 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


societies remained unreconciled through the following 
two hundred years The throne outlawed them, but 
never rooted them out They weie fertile ground for 
the young agitator Sun stumbled into the work which 
made him a power the organizing of the secret so- 
cieties for revolution 

He found it necessary to practice his profession to 
pay expenses Casting about for a field where foreign 
influence had created confidence in Western medicine, 
he chose the Portuguese territory of Macao But the 
Portuguese doctors there resented the threat to their 
monopoly, and fathered a government ordinance against 
native practitioners Sim removed to Canton — still less 
love in his heart for the “treaty-port” white man than 
before Within a year the young doctor was operating 
an office and four dispensaries But while he dispensed 
eye droppers and salved head scabs, he saw visions^ oi 
himself leading the world’s most ancient nation back 
to its rightful position of international dignity 

Soon a plan came to him Abandoning his prac- 
tice he strode upon the stage of public affairs with a 
breath-taking gesture Accompanied by a zealous 
young merchant he went, at his own expense, without 
herald or introduction, to Tientsin, sixteen hundred 
miles by coasting steamer, and bearded the most power- 
ful and haughty mandarin in China, Marquis Li Hung- 
chang, vice regent of the Empress Dowager, in his own 
magnificent den 

The twenty-seven-year-old physician, clothed in ill- 

[ 26 ] 



SUN YAT-SEN 

fitting European clothes, stood before the vermilion- 
robed satrap who had dominated China thirty years 
and had been fawned upon in all the courts of Europe, 
to demand an immediate reform of his administration 
under four categories Already Sun was a master of 
sententious phrases Set forth m balanced lines of four 
ideographs each, his program was Full development* of 
men’s abilities, full exploitation of earth’s resources, 
full use of matenal instruments (railways, machinery, 
etc ) , and unhampered flow of commerce 

The septuagenarian viceroy bowed ironically and 
asked to be excused as bemg too old to undertake new 
policies He was not too old to be at that very moment 
bringing on, through his henchman Yuan Shih-kai, the 
war with Japan, nor later to go to that country, with- 
stand an assassin’s bullet, and negotiate a most humili- 
^tHig peace* 

No popular newspapers were then published in China, 
but the tea houses pretty adequately filled their place 
Sun’s action was to be the talk of the nation China 
was surprised that he obtained an audience, and amazed 
that, having done so, he retained his head Well for 
him that Confucian scripture sanctioned a subject’s 
privilege to reprimand his ruler, and that Marquis Li, 
before the public, espoused Confucian humbleness and 
magnanimity Henceforth the spotlight was to be 
always on the agitating doctor His enemies would call 
him a “publiaty hound ” He did love to be noticed — 
he insisted upon it But from the newspaperman’s 

[ 27 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 

viewpoint of “good copy” it must be confessed that he 
earned his “space ” 

Sun left the presence of Li Hung-chang with the con- 
viction that the mandarin aristocracy was as hopeless 
as the Manchu dynasty He would nevei waver in the 
new determination to wipe out both completely But 
many bitter years were to pass befoie he should 
think through the problem of what was to take their 
place 

China’s costly defeat at the hands of little and, until 
then, patronized Japan, was an unexpected revelation 
of her weakness to the Western Powers They at once 
took advantage by demanding ports along her coast 
Soon, with Port Arthur gone to Russia, Tsingtao to 
Germany, Weihaiwei and Kowloon to England, and 
Kwangchowan to France, the cup of shame was full 
for those who cherished the honor of the Middle King^ 
dom and the dignity of its race Sun and his associates 
accused the degenerate d3masty of selling the country 
piecemeal in return for a protraction of its miserable 
existence The official hieiarchy of the mandarinate, 
whose southern members had refused to send their 
division of the fleet against Japan’s inferior navy lest 
Its new paint be scarred, stood convicted of the grossest 
lack of patriotism Towering above all in egotistic 
absurdity stood “Old Buddha” — ^the Empress Dowager 
She had used the foreign loan negotiated for naval con- 
struction to build a marble pleasure boat in her summer 
palace grounds 


[ 28 ] 



SUN YAT-PN 

Following his interview with Viceroy Li, Sun had 
crossed north China and dropped down the Yangtze 
Valley, making “strategic observations” and organizing 
revolutionary sentiment This had been done before 
But no others had prosecuted the plan he now under- 
took to plant the foundation of Chinese revolution 
and reform m the rich and unhampered overseas com- 
munity It was his second great stroke Without it 
and the first, the use of the secret societies, he could 
not have brought about the downfall of a two-thousand- 
year-old monarchy in half a lifetime 

His own overseas experience and the position of his 
brother pointed the way During the Sino-Japanese 
War he was in Honolulu, and when he sailed for Japan, 
he left behind the first “local” of the Hstng Chung Em, 
or Advance China Society After organizing emigrants 
'■ m Japan hfe booked passage for America But a mes- 
sage from Soong Yao-ru, a revolutionary merchant of 
Shanghai, uiging that the time had come to begin open 
resistance in China, took him back to Canton instead 
There he organized a trading company and an agricul- 
tural association, under cover of which he prepared 
revolt 

Sun & Company imported a shipment of barreled 
ham, but the meddlesome customs authorities found six 
hundred pistols in them Seventy accessories to the 
plot were promptly apprehended Three nights after 
the head-choppmg, the doctor himself was let down over 
Canton wall m a coolie’s basket While behind shut 

[ 29 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


gates the city was being searched for him, Sun con- 
ceived a terror of being caught like a caged animal He 
developed a very non-Chinese aversion to walls, and 
his first act, when he came into local power years later, 
was to have Canton city wall torn down, leveled, and 
its site made a boulevard And wall-leveling has become 
a tenet of Nationalist creed 

The first blood had been shed in Sun’s struggle with 
the ruling house With a price on his head he fled to 
Japan, which was to be his so fiequent refuge After a 
time, despairing of regaining his native shoies, he cut 
his queue, adopted Japanese customs, and took the 
Japanese name of Chung Shan Shao, “Mountain-Midst 
Woodcutter ” The first two words of this alias have 
become the intimate name by which Sun’s followers 
love to designate him It is to-day borne by streets 
in many cities, a battle cruiser, two universities, a styfe- 
of dress, pet horses, a newspaper, and innumerable baby 
boys 

Sun’s restless activities soon betrayed his disguise 
The Japanese, once moie on terms with the Peking 
throne, had to ask him to take ship In Honolulu he 
crossed paths with his Medical College mentor. Dr 
James Cantlie, who was returning home after long 
service The devoted missionary doctor and his warm- 
hearted wife asked Sun to look them up m London 
They were proud that a student of theirs and a Chns- 
tian should be leading a movement m China, even if a 
revolutionary one They responded with almost pa- 

[ 30 ] 



SUN YAT-SEN 


thetic idealization to the spell of Sun’s personality, 
which unfailingly bewitched Westerners even more than 
fellow-countrymen who came in contact with him 
True to their class and time, they unquestioningly be- 
lieved in Great Britain’s divine appointment to civilize 
the world, feeling that any good for China must come 
out of tutelage of British, as well as Christian tmge 
Sun had enjoyed that blessing 

Soong Yao-ru, the Shanghai merchant who gave his 
wealth, and ultimately his children, to Sun and his 
cause, financed the journey on to America Through- 
out the United States Sun lectured to small groups, 
gaining entry to the Chinese Tongs ^ through his secret 
society connections, but succeeded in organizing only 
three locals of his “Advance China Society ” As yet, 
he lacked a political creed capable of arousing the 
"“apathetic merchant commimities to fervor The Em- 
press Dowager, however, followed his activities with 
increasing choler 

He went on to London, called on the Cantlies, and 
then dropped out of sight 
At midnight on October 17, 1896, Dr Canthe was 
called out of bed by a woman who stated that she was 
the wife of a domestic employed at the Chinese Lega- 

in America are projections of tlie clans of Canton province 
The original bond—the same surname — ^has been enlarged in some cases to 
include men of several clans associating for mutual protection Ignorant 
of Western processes of justice and, mdeed, starting in Cabforma when 
these hardly eiEisted, the American Chinese communities resorted to pnmi- 
tive ^‘justice by retribution” in inter-tong disputes The tradition continues 
in the ^^tong wars” 


[ 31 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


tion m Portland Place She handed him a name card 
on which was scribbled the following message 

I was kidnaped into the Chinese Legation on Sunday, and 
shall be smuggled out from England to China for death Pray 
rescue me quick A ship is chartered by the C L ^ for the 
service to take me to China, and I shall be locked up all the 
wa3^ without communication to anybody O' Woe to me! 
Please take care of the messenger for me at present, he is 
very poor and will lose his work by doing for me 

The aged doctor at once roused up Scotland Yard, 
but got no further help than advice to go back to bed 
During the following days he anxiously besieged the 
government offices in Downing Street, only to meet offi- 
cial indifference and clutch vain wisps of red tape 
Then he seized the last resort of every Englishman he 
wrote to The Times News was slack at the.moment — ^ 
space reporters on all the British papers hailed the event 
of this romantic occurrence under their very noses, and 
wrote columns on it Sun Yat-sen’s name became 
known in the Western world as it had in the East 
through the incident with Li Hung-chang The Chinese 
Legation grew alarmed at the attention focusing on it 
"Fnends of liberty” wrote threatening letters backed 
by a bombing attempt Lord Salisbury was forced to 
consider the case as violating British sovereignty and 
her tradition of political asylum He protested to the 
Chinese Legation The day the ship chartered to take 


^ Chinese Legation 


[ 32 ] 



SUN YAT-SEN 


Sun to torture and death received sailing papers, he 
was pushed out the back door of the Legation 

He wrote to the Reverend F C Au in Hongkong 

They put bars on the windows, and set the under official to 
guard me I prayed six days m great agitation but on the 
seventh God gave me peace The problem was to get news 
of my predicament out of the building I entrusted a menage 
to an English servant, who handed it to the (Chinese) Minister 
With the result that I had my pen and paper taken away and 
was more closely watched The next day an opportunity pre- 
sented itself when the guards were not looking and the do- 
mestic was in the room God helped me to persuade him, and 
he found a stub of pencil and I a name card He risked his 
employment, or worse Much trouble — a, ship, cable- 
grams, etc , did they go to for my hundred odd pounds of 
flesh The Manchu government has lost its reputation 
over this, and I am put in touch with the best people I 
feel as favored as the Prodigal Son or the Lost Sheep Truly, 
this IS the blessing of the Fatherly God I hope you will 
“*Write me more on religious topics Such instruction may have 
a great effect upon me, and through me, upon our Chinese 
people 

This was probably the highest pitch of Sun’s religious 
experience Yet his confidence in himself and his mis- 
sion, which was his real religion, is as much the real 
message here as in his purely rationalistic utterances 
later 

Upon his release, Sun went to the continent Out 
of his reactions to governments and society there he 
constructed his first political creed He reported that 
he “liked political equality, as practiced in Europe, but 

[ 33 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 

was disturbed at the manner m which economic in- 
equality and class distinction grow in industrialized 
society ” 

Western champions of democracy who are shocked 
by the “radical” quality of reform movements in Asia 
should take into account that democracy and socialism 
burst together upon Asiatic thought Sun Yat-sen and 
other “n ew t hinkers” of China, Japan, and India dis- 
covered th e, writings of Rousseau, Jefferson, and Paine, 
Marx, Tolstoy, and Proudhon at the sarnejtime JYith 
iS^the onejnn^ovation came an age ahe ad of the other, 
^d democracy was already orthodox before so c ialism 
raised its evangel But once an Oriental like Sun Yat- 
sen had so far overcome his tradition as to cast off the 
authority of the Son of Heaven, he retained little feel- 
ing of an innate sanctity in the capitalistic system 
Communism was no more shocking to his ongmal men^-^ 
tality than republicanism 

Sun had already somewhat vaguely declared for “na- 
tionalism” and “democracy ” To these, braced together 
under the principle of the “right to live,” he now added, 
under the influence of socialist thought prevalent in 
Europe, “the right to a living,” meaning government 
responsibility for popular welfare, and combined the 
three into a system named San Mm Chu I (pronounced 
jew ee) “The Three People’s Determinations ” The 
last word is as near an equivalent as possible for “prin- 
ciples” m the nonabstract Chinese language Coming 
later to theory of government, Sun formulated his 

[ 34 ] 



SUN YAT-SEN 


dogma of the “Five Bases” of constitutional govern- 
ment — an interesting combination of American and an- 
cient Chinese administrative science To the familiar 
executive, legislative, and judicial branches. Sun added 
“exammative” and “inspective ” By these he meant 
the civil service system for the selection of officials and 
an independent censorate to supervise all acts of ad- 
ministration — a direct way of accomplishing what par- 
liamentary interrogations and senatorial investigations 
attempt in England and America 
The very year that Sun added the modern civil service 
principle to his theory of government (1905) the 
Manchu thione abolished the three-thousand-year-old 
Chinese civil board of examinations, thus unconsciously 
dooming the mandarinate, aristocracy of scholars and 
pedestal of the dynasty The examinations had become 
puerile and^corrupt, and foreign powers prohibited them 
in several provinces as punishment for Boxer outrages 
Sun published his doctrines in rhythmic captions and 
terse slogans which have become b3rwords in Chinese 
He became as felicitous at coming catchwords as Presi- 
dent Wilson, with the advantage of a language more 
adapted to pithy phrasing During the thirty remaining 
years of Sun’s career his Three Principles were to go 
through significant evolution They would take the 
final form of the speeches of his last year under Rus- 
sian Commumst influence He first planned on effecting 
them through a purely democratic form of government, 
then through Jeffersonian party rule In the end he 

[35] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


would be driven to adopt the scheme of Bolshevist 
oligaichy to “enforce liberty” on a huge and uneducated 
population Sun Yat-sen would put the dragon through 
the paces of a race hoise And theie was need 
for a Chinaman without patience if the Ancestral Land 
was to be saved from delivery into thralldom 

The first of Sun’s three eastward ciicumnavigations 
of the globe was completed by way of Turkey, Palestine, 
and India In Siam, Malaya, and the East Indies he 
was received by wealthy Chinese traders and rubber and 
sugar planters, and he laid the groundwork for a finan- 
cial and moral support which was his unfailing asst^ 
Women, whose traditional subordination was greatly 
mitigated in these exiled commimities, and some of 
whom were business and family heads, competed in 
offering him allegiance, if we may trust the stories 
What woman would not give heart and pocketbook to a 
poetic-faced, gentle-mannered hero in neat mustacli^ 
and staiched and ironed “whites,” who had fled around 
the world with the largest bounty in history on his head^ 
That Sun responded there is no question He is quoted 
as having said that he possessed only two interests m 
life revolution and women, but this is a treaty-port 
canard Sun had not the sense of humor for such a 
studied banality — which is an added reason why women 
loved him 

In Japan, where he spent 1898, the glamor of adven- 
ture about Sun attracted students affected by the new 
liberalist sentiment A number who came under his 

[36] 



SUN YAT-SEN 


influence at this and subsequent times were to be the 
leading reformers of the Island Empire, as Dr Sakuzo 
Yoshino of the Imperial University, Toyohiko Kagawa, 
Chiistian socialist, settlement worker, and novelist, and 
Bunji Suzuki, head of the Japanese Federation of Labor 
The Japanese, so long China’s docile pupils, after they 
whipped her in war assumed the pompous pose of teach- 
ers Sun, however, always commanded the tremendous 
interest that Japanese have in a man of unique ideas 
and their native respect for the man of self-sacrificing 
courage 

But Sun’s mind was taken off the agreeable task of 
adding to Japanese hero worship by developments in 
Peking Two “Japan-returned” students had gained 
supreme influence over the young Emperor Kuang Hsu, 
for whom Old Buddha had stepped aside They drew 
for him -a drastic series of mandates, transforming 
the empire into a constitutional monarchy, and ordain- 
ing educational, industrial, social, and pohtical reform 
which Sun regarded as a direct steal of his fire — ^but 
in the service of the dynasty, directed to the perpetua- 
tion of the Manchu supremacy which he had sworn to 
overthrow 

Sun was not delighted, as so many foreign enthusiasts 
for China expected him to be Rather, he fulmmated 
fieiy phrases, and estabhshed in Hongkong one of 
China’s first modern newspapers to circulate them To 
him, Kang Yu-wei and Liang Shih-yi and their “Protect- 
Emperor Constitutionalist Society” were traitors to the 

[ 37 ] 


EMINENT ASIANS 


cause of reform and, what perhaps rankled more, to 
himself as its prophet This experience was the first 
step towaid Sun’s eventual identification of all improve- 
ments in China with himself The second was to be 
disappointment m Yuan Shih-kai, which, if one may be 
brutally honest, came of overconfidence in his own 
ability to control men 

This powerful, squat Yuan of the long-drooping mus- 
taches, who was to prove Sun’s greatest adversary, 
comes into the panorama of the reform movement right 
here He had been Viceroy Li Hung-chang’s henchman 
in Korea, where he was severely trounced by the Japa- 
nese After that unpleasantness Yuan was commis- 
sioned to create a “model army” with Western instruc- 
tors and equipment He was consequently hailed by the 
military-minded plenipotentiaries of the Western powers 
as China’s paragon When the reforming- young En^ 
peror sensed the rise of Old Buddha’s anger over his in- 
novations, he called on the commandei of his model 
army to incarcerate her Instead, Yuan, who owed much 
to her favor, reversed the plot by incarcerating the 
young Emperor, and chased his reforming advisers 
to Japan The Dowager once more took control and 
the “Protect-Emperor Party” evaporated In its place 
the “Righteous Fists,” dubbed “Boxers” for short by 
correspondents, sprang up, were wooed from their 
original anti-Manchu tenet by capable “Old Buddha,” 
and under her patronage committed the atrocities which 
caused eight powers to march on Peking in 1900 To 

[38] 



SUN YAT-SEN 


regain her throne she pledged her nation to the humili- 
ating protocol with its crushing indemnity 

Sun, smoidenng with fury, at the risk of his life, 
smuggled himself into China, and m the guise of an 
herb peddler entered the garrison of Hwayjo, north of 
Canton Several revolutionary-mmded young officers 
gave him protection By their quiet tea table he con- 
verted the commander of the force to the idea of 
mutiny Then he went to Hongkong to fetch arms he 
had stored there He was frustrated by his bUe notr, 
the customs service, whose inspectors recognized him 
and prevented his landing The ship’s purser dumped 
him on Formosa, now a Japanese possession Un- 
daunted, he at once interviewed the Japanese governor 
and won him to supply the necessary munitions As 
these were bemg loaded on ship for Hwayjo, the Jap- 
anese cabinet fell, the govemoi was recalled, and the 
munitions held up But Sun’s disciples never aban- 
doned him or even expressed impatience with him for 
failure Men allied with him “for better or worse ” 
He had the capacity of awakening a devotion blind to 
the absurdity of his many wild enterprises 
One young agent who was prepanng in Canton to 
greet the expected attack from Hwayjo, made a drastic 
attempt to save the day by shooting at the viceroy 
He missed and was tortured to death But his example 
spread rather than discouraged the spint of despera- 
tion Students formed themselves into assassination 
squads, known as “Dare-to-Dies,” adopting as their 

[ 39 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


uniform for action the recently imported American 
union suit For some years the apparition of this slick 
costume was as terrifying to Manchu officials as the 
Ku Klux Klan nightshirt to a negro 

Chinese students abroad began to organize and rally 
to Sun, fiist in Japan, then in America, and lastly in 
Europe “Old China Hands,” the comfortable for- 
eigners of the treaty ports, looking on the drama with 
wise smiles, scoffed at the anti-Manchu agitator for 
so much as acknowledging the support of a few cal- 
low, meddlesome undergraduates But their activity, 
spreading back into the schools of the Ancestral Land, 
became the “student movement” destined to upset 
rulers, drive out foreign imperialism with the bludgeon 
of the boycott, and turn down the edges of the smug 
smile on many a fat, treaty-port taipan The youngsters 
who started it were to become the leaders, of the nya* 
tionalist movement and the ministers of its various 
administrations, and their programs were to be taken 
veiy seriously indeed behind the barbed wire fortifica- 
tions of the foreign settlements The three great 
enlistments which swelled Sun’s forces to the point 
of irresistibility were the secret societies, the overseas 
I community, and the students And the most decisive 
of these was the last 

Sun traveled again in Indo-China and the Philippines, 
America and Europe While the Russo-Japanese War 
(1904) was being fought on Chinese territory, he re- 
turned to Tokyo and summoned his first all-China revo- 

[40] 



SUN YAT-SEN 

lutionary council Representatives from seventeen 
provinces — all China proper save remote Kansu — at- 
tended, mostly in the persons of students in Japanese 
colleges This convention of a few schoolboys and agi- 
tators meeting in exile solemnly resolved on a new 
name for their ancient nation Joong Hwa Mtn Gwo, 
“Middle Flowery People’s Country ” It bears thgir 
choice to-day! They organized the Toong Meng Hway, 
“Together-Sworn Association,” which absorbed the too 
dignified and quiet Advance China Society 

The delegates made their way home and within a 
year reported ten thousand converts and branch so- 
cieties in every province Under the very nose of the 
watchful dynasty, in the British Concession in Tientsin, 
Sun established a Chma headquarters Revolutionary 
elements were to follow his example and make Tientsin 
for the nest twenty years a foieign-protected hatching 
box for plots 

But while Sun’s organization grew, his rebellions 
failed one after the other with a repetition which came 
to be laughed at He was here, there, everywhere, 
leading invading forces from French Indo-China, inspir- 
ing a further mutiny to Hwayjo, and engineering coups 
in Canton He utilized the special privileges of the 
foreigner which he aimed ultimately to destroy by hiring 
Japanese and French officers enjoying extraterritorial 
immunity to carry propaganda and spy out the far 
intenor His activities got him ordered out of first 
Japan and then French Indo-China, and barred from 

[ 41 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


the Philippine Islands For since the Manchu throne 
had been forced to give such huge pledges, the Powers 
wished it kept in power to ledeem them Having de- 
prived himself of a resting place in Asia, Sun drifted 
around the world, leaving command on the ground to 
his associates Hu Han-ming and Wang Chung-hui, 
eventually to become the Elder Statesmen of the Kuo- 
mintang 

Sun’s most onerous task was to cheer the revolu- 
tionists after each defeat by filling a new war chest 
He became as skillful a money-raiser as Billy Sunday 
An appealing cause and ability in its presentation are 
required to get money from Chinese laundrymen, but 
many gave their entire savings to Sun His collections 
for the revolutionary cause during foity years were to 
total two and a half million dollars He retained scarcely 
enough for his own clothing . ^ 

“Good, but a good deal of a fool,” commented a 
worldly-wise Chinese Tuchun anent this side of Sun 
Yat-sen But money-loving China was yet to defy the 
“fool,” and spit upon the Tuchun, although the latter 
probably would continue to feel that it is better to be a 
live sybarite than a dead saint The influence of Sun’s 
honest “impracticality” on the student generation was 
to be one of his greatest works The pursuit of per- 
sonal advantage was not, perhaps, appreciably to lessen, 
but It was at least no longer to be commended 

At its blackest moment, Sun’s movement was nearest 
success On March 29, 1911, the “Together-Sworns” 

[42] 



SXJN YAT-SEN 

burst into the yamen of Viceroy Lung Chi-kuang in 
Canton but were overwhelmed by the guard Lung’s 
bloody reprisal earned him the name of “The Butcher ” 
When he beheaded seventy-two young patriots he sur- 
rmsed that he was crushing the “annoyance” forever, 
but he was merely providing the nationalist cause with 
its martyrs and the Republic with its First Shrine 
Chinese chambers of commerce of seventy-two world- 
spread aties contributed to erect a monument of 
seventy-two huge stones, surmounted by a statue of 
Liberty d la New York harbor on White Cloud Moun- 
tain overlooking Canton 

While the Tung Meng Society plotted an answer in 
the form of a coup at Hankow the next spring. Sun 
went to America on a collecting tour The Throne’s 
attempt to retrieve a railway concession granted to local 
merchants jn far Szechuan and turn it over to an 
American-led financial group aroused local feeling 
which student agitators spurred into insurrection An 
imperial army passed through Hankow to suppress it 
As the troops disappeared through the Yangtze gorges 
a bomb exploded in a room over a butcher shop in the 
Russian concession Russian police picked some docu- 
ments out of the human and animal shambles and for- 
warded them to the viceroy across the river at Wuchang 
The alarmed official seized and sentenced to death a 
number of young men and women who were incrimi- 
nated Students and other sympathizers stormed his 
yamen The viceroy called on his troops Their com- 

[ 43 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


mander, Li Yuan-hung, a heavy-set Japan-returned 
student, blandly informed him that the officers of the 
garrison weie revolutionists who had bought their rank 
from him with Sun Yat-sen’s money, and offered to 
assist the astounded viceroy either to flee or to stand 
and die a heio’s death He chose the fiist alternative 
and Li escorted him in a Dare-to-Die union-suit uni- 
form at dead of night aboard a Japanese ship 
At this crisis the scepter in Peking was wielded by 
a young woman, mother of the infant emperor The 
Dowager Tzu-hsi, ‘^Old Buddha,” had died, after hav- 
ing arranged for the reforming emperor, Kuang Hsu, 
whom she so heartily disliked, to die a few hours in 
advance of herself, and after having spent what she 
knew was the last afternoon of her life upright in her 
throne dominating the choice of successor by the Im- 
perial Clan Council With the passing of hjs patronegg 
Yuan Shih-kai had found himself in disfavor, and had 
retired to his estate in Honan to nurse a diplomatic 
“sick leg ” Now he was persuaded to return to save 
the Throne But instead of crushing, he nursed the 
turbulence which made him indispensable He saw to 
it that Li Yuan-hung, who had been dragged by “Dare- 
to-Dies” from under his wife’s bed and compelled at 
the point of pistols to accept command of the revolu- 
tion, suffered a sufficient reverse to make him amenable 
to negotiation He captured Hankow in a bloody cam- 
paign during which flames of the burning city drove 
several thousand inhabitants to horrible death m the 

[ 44 ] 



SUN YAT-SEN 


river Simultaneously, however, Yuan was permitting 
a down-river junta of revolutionists more directly asso- 
ciated with Sun Yat-sen to take possession of Shanghai 
and Nanking When the Throne finally ordered Yuan 
to assume an uncompromising offensive, twenty of his 
generals presented a signed statement declining to fight 
The young Empress Dowager dictated to Yuan the 
Dragon Throne’s last mandate “Recognizing that the 
will of the people, which is the will of Heaven,” it read, 
“is for a republic, we abdicate all authority, and com- 
mission Yuan Shih-kai to establish representative forms 
of government ” 

Sun Yat-sen was in St Loms when information of 
the Hankow outbreak reached him He did not rush 
back — on the contrary he continued in leisurely fashion 
aiound the world, addressing chambers of commerce 
and public-^airs clubs, focusing on himself the atten- 
tion being given to Chinese news, and collecting large 
sums of money He was interviewed by traders, finan- 
ciers, and ministers of foreign affairs, to whom he uni- 
formly promised utopian conditions under the “World’s 
Newest and Largest Republic ” In the United States 
he painted a picture of two great sister republics shaking 
hands across the Pacific and assuring the liberty of 
mankind, in less sentimental England he held forth on 
the increase of trade and investment opportunities 
among a liberated people 

Meanwhile, m China, the Shanghai coterie of “old 
revolutionists” were gaining the ascendency over the 

[ 45 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


upstart Li Yuan-hung and his Middle Yangtze clique 
Li had been elected “Acting President” by a committee 
of associates, but offered to join any government the 
Shanghai Tung Meng junta might set up Several 
figuies were prominent m it, especially the witty ex- 
mandarin Wu Ting-fang, who had retired fiom imperial 
service as Minister to Washington when his keen politi- 
cal scent told him rum was coming Appreciating the 
value of foreign support and enjoying the incidental 
publicity, he began bombarding the foreign offices of 
the Powers with notes signed, “Minister of Foreign 
Affairs of the Republic of China ” A correspondent 
asked him who appointed him to that office He planted 
his huge sampan-shod feet, lifted his skull cap to scratch 
his head with the long nail of his little finger, and re- 
plied, “Why, I appointed myself” 

He had rivals for first honors — ^young Wiang Cheng- 
ting (C T Wang) who emerged from the National 
Secretaryship of the Young Men’s Christian Associa- 
tion, the veterans Hu Han-ming and Wang Chung-hui, 
and others It became obvious to all that harmony 
could be preserved only by selecting some one aloof 
from the rivalry They turned of necessity to their 
founder. Sun Yat-sen, lecturing abroad, whom a num- 
ber had secretly planned to overlook 

Sun was sitting in the home of his old friend, Sir 
James Cantlie, in London, with a child in his lap, when 
a cablegram armed signed “The Revolutionary As- 
sembly of the Seventeen Provinces,” asking him to 

[ 46 ] 



SUN YAT-SEN 

accept the presidency of the Middle Flowery People’s 
Country He read it, passed it over to Sir James, and 
gravely returned his attention to the child The de- 
lighted old Englishman jumped up to congratulate, to 
suggest a prayer of thanks, to envision the position 
Sun would occupy, to enumerate the people the new 
chief executive of the world’s largest republic must meet 
at once in London 

Sun quietly listened, and patting the child, remarked, 
“I can count on millions of followers They will follow 
me to the death, as they have always followed my 
teachings ” 

In his mind he had long been President of China 

III 

At Hongkong, where this time Sun Yat-sen was wel- 
comed and feted, he was joined by Homer Lea, one 
of the several unusual Occidentals whose service to 
Sun’s cause bears witness to his power to attract men 
Years before in California this dwarf had come to Sun 
at the dose of a lecture, diffidently taken the speaker’s 
hand, and said “I can help you ” “What can such 
a one do?” the revolutionist had asked his host “That 
man,” he had been told, “is Homer Lea, the greatest 
living authority on mihtary strategy ” The hunchback 
had gamed no less a repute than this on his native 
coast, through his book, The Valor of Ignorance It 
had dealt with the popular bogie of the time and place, 

[47 3 



EMINENT ASIANS 


the menace of Oriental invasion Sun had accepted 
Lea’s plan for secretly drilling Chinese students on the 
sands of Long Beach, California Now the American 
enthusiast was honored with the commission of aide- 
de-camp to the first President of China Sun’s party 
was fuither swelled at Canton by old revolutionary 
comrades and hangers-on They could give nothing, 
only take, but where Sun’s egoism did not dupe him his 
magnanimity softened him It was impossible for him 
to refuse any one 

On Christmas Eve, 1911, Sun disembaiked from a 
British boat at Shanghai, and accompanied only by his 
strange aide, went in a carriage to a secluded house pre- 
pared for him by his friends the Soong family Five 
days later, the self-constituted assembly at Nanking 
confirmed his election as “Provisional Piesident,” voting 
by provinces, sixteen out of the seventeen represented 
assenting New Year’s day of 1912, with an entourage 
overloading a special tram, he made the seven hours’ 
rail journey to Nanking, the ancient “Southern Capital ” 
Scattering snowflakes fell on the straggling procession 
as It followed the almost deserted fifteenth century 
highway of the First Ming Emperor from the river 
port through the monstrous city ramparts to the Vice- 
roy’s Palace within the city The great yamen had 
been literally converted mto a White House by a coat 
of whitewash hastily swabbed over its vermilion walls 
The motive was in part to get the greatest possible 
contrast with the old official color, and m part to emu- 

[48] 



SUN YAT-SEN 


late the great American Republic Revolutionists were 
pleased with the effect But the populace whispered 
over tea cups and market baskets that white was the 
color for mourmng and ill omen 
Students in baggy European clothes, imperially 
gowned mandarins, neatly uniformed military officeis, 
and fat, silk-robed merchants stood on the wet stone 
flagging of the yamen couityard and listened to the 
first oath of office, presidential or otherwise, ever sworn 
in the Ancestral Land Men of the old era and the new 
were alike minus the queue, mark of submission to the 
Manchu, as a result of the recent intensive hair-cutting 
campaign® Sun, with grave face and far away ex- 
pression but with disarming frankness and convincing 
sincerity which were always his power, made a mono- 
tonic address and stepped down from the dais Over 
the new Western style of handshake he was tendered 
the old Eastern congratulation, “]oy of your work ” 
Then the ‘Toreign-fashion” band struck up, in varying 
keys “Behold the Conquering Hero Comes” and “God 
Be with You till We Meet Again”^ — ^mingled 

Thereupon the official phol^ographer, newly intro- 
duced into Chinese functionism, posed the assembly in 
the stiffest possible manner and took a flashlight in the 


^ The shaved forehead was imposed on conquered Chinese by the Manchus 
IB 1640 as a mark of submission Whereupon, following their genius for 
compensating tliemselves m another way, the Chinese grew long braids 
behind The pig-tail was confused by the unhistoncal young revolutionary 
zealots, with the real mark of servility, and peasants and tradesmen who 
passed through aty gates were given the choice of parting with their 
queues or their heads Some chose the latter 

[ 49 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


damp, gathering gloom The picture lies on the table 
beside my typewriter as I write President Sun Yat-sen 
IS bareheaded, dressed in the styleless military-collar 
type of European costume which he adopted from the 
missionaries, and which, designated by his name, Chung 
Shan, became the badge of revolutionary zeal, as did 
long trousers in France and the grotesque golf cap of 
Lenin in Russia The figure which catches the eye in 
my photograph is the lone Caucasian, General Homer 
Lea, standing between two seated, fat mandarins, but 
his head just to a height with theirs ^ 

The First President’s first mandate was expressive of 
his drastic turn of mind As Yamagata and Ito had 
done in Japan, and Lenin and Stalin and Mustapha 
Kemal were to do in Russia and Turkey, Sun Yat-sen 
introduced the European calendar To the makers of 
New Asia this seemed a required notification to both 
sluggards at home and scoffers abroad that their vari- 
ous societies were entering the modern world Presi- 
dent Sun declared the calendar changed from the lunar 
leckoning kept by his ancestois since 2,500 b c to solar, 
Gregorian style, and the beginning of a new chrono- 
logical era with the day of his inauguration “Repubh- 
can Era Year One ” Yuan Shih-kai, with his ear to the 
ground in Peking, announced that both old and new 


^His career to be very bnef He proved too frail for Asiatic living 
conditions, and Sun sent Lm, well provided, back to San Francisco, where, 
as his strength ebbed, he occupied a suite in the St Francis Hotel, and was 
carried m and out past whispering tourists on the back of a giant Chinese 
body servant m Oriental livery 

[ 50 ] 



SUN YAT-SEN 

reckonings would be legitimate “for the time being ” 
The epic political struggle of modern Chinese history 
was declared, orientally enough, over a chronological 
issue But there was much behind it other than the 
date Yuan, holding the north aloof from participation, 
declared himself “in principle” a convert to the republi- 
can idea and suggested compromise Sun and his party, 
which he had renamed the Kuomintang, “Country 
People’s Party,” to signify its transformation from a 
revolutionary junta into a political faction, were willing 
to meet Yuan, providing he first admit that sanction 
for republican forms lay in the resolution of the self- 
constituted “People’s Assembly” at Nanking, not in the 
mandate to Yuan from the abdicating imperial family 
The question was far from merely academic It in- 
volved the practical matter of whose republic China was 
to be 

Yuan demurred Nanking sent an expedition against 
him He suddenly professed conversion to the Nanking 
viewpoint, and Sun, the trustful, believed he had ac- 
quired another devoted follower However, in return for 
submission to the Provisional Assembly, Yuan de- 
manded reward m the form of prompt election to the 
presidency of China He had strong talking points 
Neither side could overcome the other Quick reunion 
was necessary to suppress growing disorder and forestall 
German and Japanese encroachment Those decisive 
factors, the European Powers — ^particularly Great 
Britam — ^having faith m Yuan who had long adminis- 

[Sl] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


tered an established order, rather than in Sun who 
had overthrown one — indicated that they would grant 
neither diplomatic recognition nor loans till Yuan was 
made head of the new government 

Sun was not finding the office of chief executive 
simple His funds had soon gone, and the swelling revo- 
kitionary army dunned him for pay Facing danger 
of mutiny, in a cold sweat one night m his bare office 
he mortgaged the Hanyang Steel and Iron Works to 
Japan and then lived m daily fear lest he be accused 
of betraying his lifelong principles Running a govern- 
ment was proving more complicated and thankless than 
organizing a revolution 

But it might be possible, in the interests of both the 
revolution and personal comfoit, to let Yuan run the 
government while Sun’s Kuomintang would “run” 
Yuan' The Kuomintang, being the only effective 
political organization at election time in tlie country, 
could easily “pack Parliament,” then diaft a constitu- 
tion placing the President in Parliament’s power Sun’s 
fatuousness caused him to overlook the evidences that 
Yuan was scheming conversely to make the Kuommg- 
tang his instrument It was a contest peculiarly 
Chinese, for if there is one scheme never absent from 
the Celestial’s thought it is to make an unwitting tool 
of his adversaiy 

Out of such hidden soil flowered Sun’s world-arrest- 
ing act of resigning to his rival, after four months’ 
tenure, the presidency of the republic he had created 

[ 52 ] 



SUN YAT-SEN 


He made the most of necessity, and felt repaid in glory 
Few men have an opportunity of climaxing their careers, 
as Sun believed he was doing, with a nobler gesture 
It ended m a flair of pageantry at the tomb of the 
First Ming on Purple Mountain overlooking Nanking 
Standing with bowed head before the Emperor’s fif- 
teenth century spirit-tablet. Sun informed its mhabitank 
that the great Mmg’s achievement nad been duplicated 
— China had once more been liberated from alien rule, 
and the liberator could now properly step back into 
private life Sun’s “face,” his amour propre, was vindi- 
cated by this ceremony, and he withdrew in an exalted 
frame of mind to his ordinary citizen’s compartment 
on the Shanghai train, while Christian missionaries 
divided over the question of whether or not this glorified 
ancestor worship was a repudiation of his Christian 
profession . 

There followed a diverting bit of jOckeying over the 
new President’s inauguration The Kuomintang as- 
sembly stipulated that the capital be at Nanking Yuan 
Shih-kai pointed out that foreign diplomats would not 
abandon the costly fortified Legation Quarter in Peking, 
and that the Japanese menace required maintenance of 
the capital in the north But at least, insisted Sun’s 
party, Yuan must come to Nanking to be inaugurated 
He assented Just then his crack army division mu- 
tinied and looted Peking Obviously it would now be 
impossible for him to leave His presence was reqmred 
every minute to restore order and reassure the fright- 

[ 53 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


ened diplomatic corps And so Nanking sent a delega- 
tion to inaugurate him in his own headquarters He had 
won the fiist round 

In view of thiSj Sun thought it wise to have a base 
He went to Canton to build a constituency in his own 
countryside His romantic figure briefly dominated the 
.Canton chaos He went to Blue Valley and fetched the 
lady of the Lu clan, his wife, to preside over his “court ” 
He had kept m sufficient touch with her through his out- 
law years to father two children For reasons of both 
sentimentality and egoism he now longed to have his 
consort by his side in public appearances, even as do 
the great men of the West 

She was in rotund middle age, averse to exertion, 
gemal-souled, and untroubled by mental effort At his 
order she withdrew her antiquated high headdress and 
dowry clothes from the pawnshop where they were im- 
pignorated foi safekeeping, and m obedience not un- 
mixed with piide waddled about after her worshiped 
master But the round of ceremonies dazed her She 
found nothing in common with the “modem” young 
women who flocked adulatively around her lord They 
patronized and deprecated her, while the China of her 
own generation opined that a woman’s place was in 
her home She felt lonely, almost immodest, among 
them It ended with Sun’s sending hei back to the 
village He shortly proceeded to Peking to put matters 
in order against the coming constitutional convention 

“Sun IS preparing a break with Yuan Shih-kai,” ran 

[ 54 ] 



SUN YAT-SEN 


the political gossip To this Sun retorted on August 27, 
1912 “No one thinks of a civil war in the United 
States simply because Mr Taft, Mr Wilson and Mr 
Roosevelt do not agree ” Was he really blind to the 
difference, or justifiedly disingenuous^ In a personally 
written message to the New York Sun, published Sep- 
tember 24, he stated 

“My recent visit to Peking was not made for the 
purpose of stirring up trouble or discord It was, on 
the other hand, to assure President Yuan that many 
sayings attributed to me were not only untrue but with- 
out the slightest foundation of fact I have not only 
confidence m his loyalty and ability and believe him 
worthy of the firmest support, but I repledge myself 
to devote my best effort to aid him in the great and 
noble work he has undertaken ” 

Sun was fully sincere in his effort to ‘‘aid” Yuan 
To forestall such aid. Yuan hired assassins to shoot Mr 
Sung Chao-ren, Kuomintang “party whip,” entrusted 
with putting the constitution through Parliament Par- 
liament assembled in hot indignation at the murder and 
barred President Yuan and his secretaries from its 
sittings, even refusing to read his messages 

Meanwhile Sun Yat-sen had gone to Shanghai as 
“Director of Material Development” to outline a pre- 
tentious scheme eventually published in English under 
the title, “The International Development of China,” 
for a hundred thousand miles of railway, a million miles 
of roadway, canal improvements, construction of three 

[ 55 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


poits, modernization of cities, and stretching of tele- 
phone lines — to be built with foreign capital In the 
making of plans without trammel of burden for their 
execution he was brilliant — a poet of material and social 
accomplishment It was to become fashionable to call 
him visionaiy, yet nothing could have been more certain 
of eventual fulfillment than his veiy dream in all its es- 
sential details Engineers scorned it, then went out to 
confirm by sextant and statistical table what he saw 
by inspiration His scheme was the best sort of pub- 
licity for him and the Republic in the material-minded 
West But financiers made eulogistic after-dinner 
speeches and watchfully waited For President Yuan 
was receiving first attention from the foreign bankers 
When it became evident that Yuan was determined 
to continue resistance of party control, Sun left his 
drawing table, went aboard the ships of^the Chinese 
navy off Shanghai, won over its officers and raised the 
standard of a “Second Revolution ” The convenient 
admiralty flag, a large white rising sun on a blue field, 
devised under Japanese influence and first used on one 
of Sun’s sorties from Annam, was now set against the 
Republican “Five Stripes,” repiesenting Chinese, Man- 
chus, Mongols, Tibetans, and Muhammadans, which 
Sun also had designed during presidential days in Nan- 
king He would revise the Kuomintang ensign in his 
last years by pushing the rising sun up into the corner of 
a broad, red field, and it would be this “Soviet-influ- 
enced” standard which would sweep victoriously over 

[ 56 ] 



SUN YAT-SEN 

two-thirds of China in 1926-7 But the “millions of de- 
voted followers” failed to follow him now in 1913 His 
adjutants, Li Lieh-chun and Huang Hsing, held the 
Yangtze valley for a few months, but were dislodged, 
chiefiy by Yuan’s gold The Peking dictator was giving 
the country order, business was recovering, and the mer- 
chant guilds were satisfied Reformers winked aj 
Yuan’s assassinations in view of his drastic suppression 
of opium, patriots felt they had made considerable 
exertion and were entitled to a rest 

And so Sun found himself, a year after his triumph, 
a refugee in Japan, condemned as an extremist by his 
countrymen and as an agitator by the world, regarded 
as a liability by his own party, and penniless He heard 
the fickle public, which had praised him as a hero of 
renunciation, now dismiss him as a fool whose associ- 
ates had fortunately gotten him out of the seat of power 
before he made it ridiculous In his heart he knew he 
was neither 

It IS hard for those who knew Sun Yat-sen to con- 
ceive of his losing faith in himself and his mission But 
he came to the edge of such collapse The result would 
have been bitterness and futility He was saved by the 
ministrant whom Providence provides rarely, yet incon- 
trovertibly at times, despite this age’s discredit of ro- 
mance — a beautiful, devoted, and gifted woman 

As a child, Soong Chmg-ling, or “Lucky Age,” with 
her two sisters and brother had often played about the 
chair of the grave young physician-revolutionist who 

[57] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


used to visit their solid but plain Shanghai home and 
talk so long and confidently with Father Soong The 
fine old merchant bequeathed to his children all his 
affection foi his patriotic cause and his concern for its 
adventurous leader Ching-ling grew up into an Eng- 
lish education and went to Wesleyan College of Macon, 
Georgia, where she became “Rosamund ” Her next 
sister — eventually to become the wife of Chiang Kai- 
shek, private secretary of Dr Sun and Generalissimo 
and statesman of the Nationalist cause — ^was to finish 
at Wellesley, while her brother, the budding financial 
genius of Nationalism, would take business administra- 
tion at Harvard An elder sister was to mairy the 
Oberlin graduate and educationalist H H Kung, de- 
scendant of Confucius, in the seventy-fifth generation, 
and provide the connecting Imk between Nationalist 
leadership and the northern disciplinarian “Christian 
General” Feng Yu-hsiang, in whose entouiage Kung 
represented the arts of peace 

Rosamund, returning from her American college, 
stopped in Japan We see her m a group photograph 
taken in Dr Sun’s paper- walled headquarters on “The 
Bluff” at Yokohama, the veiy site of which was 
thrown into the sea by the earthquake of 1923 Her 
round face looks earnestly fiom under a huge “picture” 
hat, and her skirts drop to the ankles, but she consti- 
tutes a very modern phenomenon for Pacific Asia of 
1914 

Some say she served as Dr. Sun’s secretary She 

[S8] 



SUN YAT-SEN 

denies that, but not that she was his strength and his 
renewal of life He had loved her as a child, and lo' 
here she was a woman, and loved him Now, in his 
disgrace, the revolutionary leader possessed what he 
had longed for in his tnumph, a consort equipped to 
stand by his side In assent so complete that it did not 
need to be expressed, these two souls joined forces^ 
Chmg-ling went to Shanghai to fulfill the ceremony of 
asking her family’s consent and returned promptly to 
Sun’s side 

The problem of the wife in Fragrant Mountain Vil- 
lage had to be surmoimted, not, fortunately, for her 
own sake, but for that of Chmg-lmg, who like all ‘'new” 
Chinese women, had sworn not to be a “secondary” 
wife So it was given out that Sun had divorced the 
lady of the Lu clan, but the “divorce” consisted of noth- 
ing more than just this declaration There was no 
occasion for sending her back to her family, according 
to customary Chinese clan divorce Legal divorce, al- 
though one of the reforms attached to Sun’s movement, 
was not availed of It would have been unnecessary 
cruelty to the mother of his children Both Sun and 
Ching-ling later met her on the friendliest basis Cer- 
tain it is that she took his “divorce,” if she ever really 
heard of it, as another of those newfangled ways of 
the West past her understanding, and continued to re- 
gard herself as his wife and the new woman as the 
proper and inevitable “second ” Sun’s children showed 
no resentment His son, Ko (m Cantonese Fo), about 

[S9] 



EMINENT ASIANS 

the same age as the young wife, became her devoted 
friend 

One wonders what the Iife-scaried man of forty- 
nine and the vital giil of twenty-three got from their 
quiet partnership Sensual enough to satisfy the warm 
blood of a young Chinese woman he piobably was, 
even at this age Yet there was no playful touch about 
him He never laughed, rarely smiled But he treated 
women with a frank respect — to an occasional woman 
of both East and West as precious as romanticism 
Sun took the girl as an equal into his sorrows, plans, 
theories, and friendships, and leaned on her like a rock 
On her part, she served him with a steady, unobtrusive 
devotion in which Oriental woman excel Henceforth 
she was with him m eveiy adventure, and traces of her 
keen mind are found in his more mature reasoning 
She was able to smooth the edges of his ^otism, and 
with her woman’s suspiciousness to meliorate his ruinous 
trustfulness 

Her own mental development is no less interesting 
than her effect upon hei husband’s She participated 
in the bewilderment of her generation over the supe- 
riority of Occidental civilization As the spectacle of 
Christendom’s insincerity and savagery iini oiled before 
these Western-educated Chinese, they passed through 
disillusioned cynicism into a pathetic groping after any 
theory which promised utopia and despised conven- 
tional “democracy ” Chmg-ling leaned toward ex- 
tremism, the linking up with Russia and adoption of 

[ 60 ] 



SUN YAT-SEN 

radical socio-economic theory Without this radical 
impetus, Sun’s cause, indeed, would hardly have swept 
the country at last But this fervor was to leave Sun’s 
young widow a pathetic self-ordamed exile m Moscow, 
denoimcing her brother and sister as “traitiors who 
have sold our Master’s cause to the bourgeoisie ” 

In China developments were justifying Sun Using 
the pronuse of a foreign loan, upon regulaiization of the 
government. Yuan Shih-kai procured from Parliament 
improvement of his status from acting to constitu- 
tional president From this vantage point he declared 
the Kuommtang a traitorous organization and pro- 
sciibed its members Since without them Parliament 
had no quorum, he then prorogued Parliament To 
this absolutism, the Chinese nation submitted, but 
when in 1915 Yuan essayed to take the titles of dynasty, 
it squirmed tand called for Doctor Sun Yat-sen again 
The rejuvenated rebel was ready for the call He 
issued manifestoes, gathered an entourage (or, rather, 
let one fasten upon him) and landed in Shanghai with 
eclat Here he pompously declared a “punitive expe- 
dition” (that was always a favoiite phrase) “against 
Emperor Yuan, traitor to the Republic, puppet of the 
encroaching Powers ” This last was unjust to Yuan, 
although he had been compelled partially to give in 
to the Japanese Twenty-one Demands But Sun, like 
all humans, was suspicious of his enemy’s fallmg into 
the sm which he himself had not avoided The cam- 
paign went forward elaborately Just as it was reach- 

[61] 


EMINENT ASIANS 


mg a serious stage, death stepped m and took Sun’s 
prey away from him Yuan, crushed by the defection 
of some of his most trusted men, had ciumbled like 
a pillar of rotten granite A short period of madness 
ended in death on June 6, 1916 
And Sun, as was invariably his experience, found 
himself triumphant only to be baffled From his dra- 
matic feud with Yuan he emerged survivor, but that 
sour adversary, in going down to defeat, had not given 
him victory The punitive army, with nothing to pun- 
ish, evaporated, and with it Sun’s organized strength 
He was left in the position of an ordinary politician, 
waiting in Shanghai for developments 

Fatuously, he sat foi the laurel to descend upon him 
as in 1911 But Vice-President Li Yuan-hung, the 
squat garrison-commander of the Hankow revolution, 
took the presidency, and no worthy places was found 
foi the Father of the Republic The splinters of Yuan’s 
broken baton were giasped by many waiting hands 
closer than Sun Yat-sen’s 

Stm was hardened by this “let-out ” Not tliat he 
entirely overcame his fatuousness Fatuous he re- 
mained to the end No expectation of his life was more 
fatuous than that which was to set him off on his last 
journey But henceforth he operated in closer accord 
with the theory that one gets only what he takes and 
keeps only what he clings to 

For the next eight years China’s history was to be 
the often farcical, sometimes gallant, usually sordid 

[62] 



SUN Y4T-SEN 

story of military adventurers, heirs to portions of 
Yuan’s army, who fought one another for supreme con- 
trol and were backed first by one foreign power and 
then another Japan proved the worst offender The 
military clique which ruled in Tokyo during the Great 
War boldly endeavored to end China’s national ex- 
istence 

It was not comfortable for Sun Yat-sen m Shanghai 
and he returned to Canton, the city where he began, 
and which, no matter how many times it drove him 
out, always again gave him a following Here he began 
all over He took with him the decrepit Chinese Navy, 
and the hardly less aging Chinese Parliament — the 
original Parliament assembled at Peking to control 
Yuan Shih-kai — forcibly prorogued, later reassembled 
by Li Yuan-hung and then redismissed at the behest 
of the military The M P ’s always preferred Peking, 
but when the capital was untenable, never had failed 
to come for bed and board to the compassionate — 
and always flattered — ^Dr Sun, author of their honors 

Sun and his Parliament were at once confronted with 
an acute problem of statesmanship The West, which 
cannot believe m Jehovah or Ford cars or cutting throats 
without forcing its cause upon the whole world, was 
dragging China into the arena of its World War 

Chinese took much moral comfort out of watching 
Christendom, whose self-assumed ethical supenority 
they had reluctantly begun to admit, reveal itself in 
the World War Sun Yat-sen, who more than his fel- 

[ 63 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


lows respected Western culture, grew cautiously critical 
Others, with less knowledge of the West, became merely 
supercilious Young returned students alone were 
caustic That attribute was borrowed from the intol- 
erant, caiing. Western mind 

But all Chinese who did not have ulterior motives 
opposed the involvement of their nation Piesident 
Woodrow Wilson had idealistically issued a pressing 
invitation to China, along with the other neutral na- 
tions, to join in making the world safe for democracy 
When he had discovered that the traitorous “Peace 
and Joy Clique” ' in Peking planned to make use of 
this to bring China’s army under Japanese command, 
he had advised the Chinese to pay first attention to 
making China safe for democracy Sun Yat-sen deliv- 
ered a scathing rebuke to Lloyd Geoige for desiring 
to involve China Li Yuan-hung, under pressure from 
the foreign plenipotentiaries at Peking, had tried half 
measures — breaking leiations without declaring war 
But an intrigue of attempted Manchu restoration 
ousted him That in turn collapsed, leaving the “Peace 
and Joy”-ites supreme to railroad the Peking govern- 
ment into formal war Wheieupon Sun, advised by his 
younger diplomats, brought Canton also into the War, 
lest corrupt Peking should have its way at the peace 
conference When that met, Canton’s delegate, young 

®Viz The Anfu government went under this most misleading, bizarre 
name — ^taken from the namc'^ of two provinces beginning with these two 
folk-loved words, and ipphcd fir-^t to the Chinese convivial organization 
(a la Tammany) out ox which the political faction grew 

[ 64 ] 



SUN YAT-SEN 

C T Wang, dominated the Chinese delegation, because 
he had the confidence of the Chinese people, south and 
north 

Old Wu Ting-fang, who had declined to follow Sun 
Yat-sen m 1913, now joined him in Canton, as did the 
gifted Tong Shao-yi, who had been Yuan’s premier 
Their discussions were chiefly conducted m English, ip 
which they were all more fluent than in one another’s 
dialects The three became known as the “Canton 
Triumvirate ” Wu was the wit, the fashionable eccen- 
tric, who lent his well-staffed mansions to friends, lived 
m simple style on a vegetable diet, and spoke epigrams 
after the manner of George Bernard Shaw Nor was he 
a less resourceful self-advertiser One of his last little 
pleasantries was a hoax on the press of the world 
While editors weie “burning up the cables” trying to 
get further, reports of a monarchical restoration at 
Peking on which Wu had “sold” them, he was giving 
Lord Northcliffe an interview on the great service of 
the foreign press to China in making true conditions 
known to the world Tong was the luxury-lovmg finan- 
cial wizard and dignified controversialist who kept aloof 
in his Hsiang Shan botanical gardens from the turmoil 
he helped to foster The association marked a new 
phase in the career of Sun Yat-sen With his com- 
rades setting off the fireworks, yet contenting him with 
full homage as their chief, he could apply himself to 
the indoctrinizing of the masses Patiently he reit- 
erated simphfied lessons in political and economic theory 

[65] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


to these beginners in the school of Nationalism Now 
he was at his truly constiuctive — ^his lasting — ^work 

“What,” he asks, writing in the language of common 
talk, long before Dr Hu Sliih m Peking won recognition 
of it for literature, “are the Three People’s Deteimina- 
tion? They are, put together, a save-the-country de- 
termination What IS determination^ [We might 
translate the word “principle ”] It is belief, hope, and 
foice united together Before the first of these, belief, 
must come investigation, or understanding . . When 
may we say China is saved ^ When m international 
intercourse, government, and communications she is 
equal to other nations, and assured of permanence on 
the earth, we may say our country is saved If with 
high hope it is possible to combine great force, we can 
save China ” 

Thiough such kindergarten catechism did Sun start 
millions of infants in citizenship to thinking on the 
problems and fate of their nation He created for it 
an entire political and economic vocabulary 

Sun’s Rump Parliament elected him “Generalissimo” 
of a new “People’s Army” to punish the northern de- 
stroyers of the Republic The command seemed to be 
the important thing The army, apparently, would 
come later Sun’s fatuousness and vanity were usually 
sublime This one time they became ridiculous, as the 
stubbly-mustached, priestly-lookmg doctor donned an 
ill-fitting and incongruously designed field marshal’s 
uniform, and posed hand on hilt before the cameras, 

[ 66 ] 



SUN YA.T-SEN 


He realized the effect himself — it was his only effort 
to be “military ” 

Sun was shocked when the legislative checks he had 
invented for Parliament to put upon Yuan Shih-kai were 
now proposed by the unimaginative M P ’s for himself 
In the course of the resultant dispute, reactionary forces 
from up-country swept into Canton, and Dr Sun with- 
drew, in yet another defeat, to Shanghai Against the 
apparent likelihood that these experiences would con- 
tinue to be repetitious, he philosophically established 
a “refuge cottage” in the French Concession of that 
aty and installed his library — and Chmg-ling’s favorite 
song birds — there 

While in China this checker game was being played, 
at Versailles President Wilson, unwilling to entertain 
Japan’s “racial equality” motion and bludgeoned by 
her threat to walk out of the Conference and League, 
had consented to her retention of her seizures in the 
Chinese province of Shantung The Peace and Joy 
clique were of course party to the game, the rest of 
political China simply wrung its hands m indignation 
and despair, and the populace was in oblivion Then 
“riotous youngsters” of the colleges and middle schools 
organized into Student Unions and marched in mass — 
carrying patriotic slogans and the picture of Dr Sun 
Yat-sen The demonstrations developed into the “stu- 
dent revolution ” Youthful ebullience backed by the 
army and strategy of General Wu Pei-fu overthrew the 
Anfu clique, and orgamzed students and chambers of 

[ 67 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


commeice sobered Japanese jingoism with the boycott 
The fervoi of its youth, and effectiveness of passive 
resistance as its weapon — ^prime factors in Asia’s fight 
on foreign domination — ^weie now first demonstrated 
Dr Sun was quick enough to claim full ciedit for the 
development We laughed at his egoism and oppor- 
tunism, as was then the fashion Looking back now, 
we see clearly that without Sun Yat-sen tliere would 
have been no student revolution 
The wave of patriotic sentiment floated him back to 
Canton and power A young soldier, Chen Ching-mmg, 
of the Hakka, China’s only (and strictly localized) 
pariah class, attracted to the aging leader because 
of his complete blindness to social dividing lines, stole 
into the South and prepared the way for a pro-Sun 
coup In the chief’s wake came the usual following 
of office and notoriety seekers, advantaging ^by his ami- 
ability and vanity The Rump Parliament vaiied the 
order this time, electing him President Extraordinary 
in place of Generalissimo — ^hoping foi better luck 
He was learning whom to use Chen the Hakka, of 
course kept command of the army The fact that he 
had possessed himself of the command before Sun gave 
It was perhaps not in his favor in the President’s mind 
and foreboded trouble Sun made his son, Ko, mayor 
of Canton, and Wu Ting-fang’s son (both were Ameri- 
can xmiversity graduates) head of construction and 
works This “second triumvirate” made up in i isiness- 
like vigor its lack of the picturesqueness and whimsy 

[ 68 ] 



SUN YAT-SEN 


of its elderly forerunnei Its model administration 
attracting wide notice in its contrast to the satrapies 
of the North, brought to Dr Sun flattering attention 

But the veteran adventuier-refoimer was no patient 
improver of a county He must be the reshaper of a 
nation — the mspirer of a continent He was soon look- 
ing once more for an opportunity to put his hand into 
national affaiis It came when in 1922 General Wu 
Pei-fu, factotum on the middle Yangtze, moved north- 
ward to oust the ex-bandit king of Manchuria, Chang 
Tso-lin, from his control of Peking 

Dr Sun was bitter against General Wu who cham- 
pioned the students, and m his view, otherwise stole 
his fire He ordered all resources to be put into an 
expedition from the south against Wu, the rival re- 
former, and in aid of Chang, the reactionary True 
to revolutionist psychology, Sun, as earlier m the case 
of the “Protect-Emperor” group, hated the hbeial with 
a more bitter hatred than he did the unredeemed reac- 
tionary He was touchy over his position, self-consti- 
tuted but sanctioned by suffering, as high priest of 
reform His campaign for the punishment of Wu was 
stopped pathetically Army Chief Chen simply re- 
fused to undertake it 

Sun, in spite of the fact that his participation was 
in spirit only, demanded all attention due a combatant 
After his nominal ally, Chang, had been routed, a tele- 
gram from Sun’s secretary came to the American Lega- 
tion readmg “What are Wu’s terms?” It was unof- 

[69] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


fidally tuined over to Wu’s American adviser on for- 
eign affairs “ who consulted with General Wu “Tell 
Sun Yat-sen,” he ordered, “that I am not aware that 
we have been at war and therefore there is no ques- 
tion of teims What I want is what he has always 
advocated, restoiation of constitutional forms, and I 
trust he will join me in bringing them about ” Sun 
turned his fury of snubbed egotism against General 
Chen, who had rehabilitated him but who had disobeyed 
him and caused him to “lose face ” 

In haughty language he issued an edict of dismissal 
against the man who was really keeping him m au- 
thonty The actual power of dismissal was the other 
way around But hadn’t the army sworn allegiance 
to the President^ Could he then not give it to whom 
he wished^ General Wu got in touch with Chen and 
agreed to thiow out the illegal chief executive in Peking 
if Chen would eliminate the turbulent Dr Sun, thus 
clearing the decks all aiound The outcome had its 
tragic as well as ludicrous features Chen fulfilled his 
part by literally pushing Sun into the river The “Presi- 
dent” boarded a cruiser of his navy, it now bears his 
name and is preserved as China’s “Old Ironsides ” The 
venerable Wu Ting- fang, unwavering in loyalty to his 
old friend Sun, traveled heartbrokenly with proposals 
of compromise from the cruiser to General Chen’s shore 
posts in lulls between their capricious artillery duel^ 
He took cold m the open sampan and after a few days 


^The author 


[ 70 ] 



SUN YAT-SEN 


died of pnetimoma Many felt at the time that the 
bigger man had given his life m service to the lesser, 
yet the day was to come when they would not be men- 
tioned m the same breath 

Eventually the ship’s officers, under pressure of 
Chen’s bribes, surrounded Sun in his cabin and in- 
formed him that they would have to deliver him up 
He asked permission to make a farewell speech That 
they could not refuse In his logical, positive, mo- 
notonous voice he addressed them for three hours, re- 
vealing their cupidity and treachery, rebuking them for 
It, forgiving them, praising their idealism and loyalty, 
and offering, if they really thought it best, to go ashoi^ 
of his own volition In stinging shame and tears tlfy 
pled with him instead, to allow them to put him on a 
Biitish ship bound for Shanghai ^ 

Wu Pei-fu«restored Li Yuan-hung, the only fully legal 
president China ever had, to the chief executiveship, 
and invited the exiled “Long Parliament,” now left in 
Canton without a host, back to Peking Liberal ad- 
vances on travel expense induced the M P ’s to desert 
their old master Soon after, in Peking, they ratified 
the Kuommtang constitution which had had its first 
reading years before under Yuan Shih-kai In scorn. 
Sun now repudiated both Parliament and its constitu- 

7 As party to a plot peacefully to nd Chma of Sun’s presence, the author 
’cabled an Amencan Chautauqua manager suggesting that he make Sun 
an offer It was done, and Sun actually entered negotiations, but the 
manager made the mistake of mentioning his correspondents, and Sun 
promptly announced that he would stay in China 

[ 71 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


tion, largely his own drafting He was left without 
definite program, open to new influence 

Abraham Adolph Joffe, one of Moscow’s astutest 
diplomats and its first plenipotentiary to the Orient, 
who had been making small headway against legation 
influence in Peking, saw the oppoitunity 

IV 

The Soviet ambassador, bloated by a leaky heart, 
his close-shaven head fun owed with scars made by 
chains — both souvenirs of Czarist cruelty — arrives in 
1922 to sit in “refuge house” and discuss imperialism 
and revolution with a Sun who is growing gaunt and 
ruthless More and more he is coming to see force as 
his only means of progiess He has sent his body- 
guard, a heavy-weight, “two-gun,” cockpey-speaking 
Canadian Jew named Morns Cohen, donated to him 
as bodyguard by the Saskatchewan Chinese Chamber 
of Commerce, to engage military trainers in the United 
States and Canada, only to be frustrated by the dis- 
approval of the American and British governments 
Sun accepts from Joffe’s lips the pledges of the Soviet 
Republic It, too, has a cause against the imperialist 
Powers Why should not Russia’s Asiatic neighbors 
unite with her in a confraternity of the snubbed to 
flatten the “paper tigei” of Western superiority^ Mos- 
cow will do for Sun Yat-sen what it has already done 
for Mustapha Kemal, for Riza Khan of Persia, for 

im 



SUN YAT-SEN 

Amanullah Shah of Afghanistan — enabling their Na- 
tionalist movements to sweep away foreign domination 
in those countries Moscow will not confine her sym- 
pathy to sentimental talk, as does America Moscow 
will send militaiy trainers, propagandists who know 
how to reach the masses, and, by means of the recently 
lepossessed Russian Volunteer Fleet, rifles, cartridges 
and hand gienades, and Sibeiian furs to be sold in the 
Canton market for the cause of Chinese Nationalism 
The Soviet gioup has flouted the combined strength 
of the world’s recently victorious powers and driven 
their armies, invading from all sides, out of its borders 
Is China beset somewhat as was Russia^ Would the 
Proletariat’s experience be of any guidance or inspira- 
tion in reestablishing China’s ancient dignity and Sun 
Yat-sen, its champion’s, prestige? 

The old re*/oIutionist’s face remains bland, but within 
his heart there wells up all the confidence of success, 
all the grandiose visions of thirty years before It is 
natural, he replies, that new Russia should turn to 
him, the true and only representative of progress m the 
Orient, for alliance Thus Sun accepts He promises 
to read Marx again, and Lenin He admits they might 
have points worthy of inclusion in the Nationalist 
gospel 

The scaned, wheezing Joffe gives Sun a political 
adviser, young Michael Borodin, brought from Moscow 
after a career as tutor in Chicago and revolutionist in 
Europe Joffe procures seventy Soviet officers, headed 

[ 73 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


by the veteran ex-Austnan general, Gallm, to drill Sun’s 
aimy Then, from the footing of prestige Joffe has 
obtained for his government at Canton, he reaches out 
to reattack the problem of resuming relations with 
Peking and Tokyo He is successful He returns to 
Euiope to confuse “imperialist” diplomats at The 
‘Hague and become fiist Soviet Ambassador to Rome, 
to drift with Trotsky into the “opposition” m his own 
party, be cautiously pushed out of political sight, and 
finally to shoot himself because the government dispen- 
sary under orders of the “niggardly ruling faction” 
refuses to dole him sufficient narcotic to deaden his 
increasing pain' 

But the tragi-triumph of our own hero is approach- 
ing its climax To get the setting for this last act in 
the drama of Sun’s life we must go back to his flight 
from Canton before his truculent “child,” Chen the 
Hakka (Only once more was Sun to get back to 
his own home city — only once more to leave ) As Sun 
was being forced aboard that cruiser at Canton, a rustic- 
featured young man pushed through the partly curious, 
partly indignant, crowd and quietly asked to be allowed 
to go with and serve the Master It was one of those 
rescues of Sun’s self-confidence and self-importance 
which destiny did not fail to provide when he was in 
desperate need 

The young man, Chiang Kai-shek, looked after the 
old chief’s physical contfoit — something Sun was never 
able to do for himself As his spirits returned he began 

[ 74 ] 



SUN YAT-SEN 

dictating letters, issuing to followers all over the world 
a glittering prospectus of his next government There 
was a striking contrast and yet a decided similarity 
between Sun Yat-sen and Vladimir Lemn, who now lay 
paralyzed on his bed at Gorkii Lenin, led up to the 
point of action by reason and resolution, drove himself 
forward by will Sun, the poet, was lead on by imagina- 
tion But both had the bland faculty of ignoring de- 
feat and setback, of pretending that every vicissitude 
was part of an unquestionable progress toward the goal 
Lenin talked with as “hardboiled” assurance and Sun as 
pompously the day after defeat as the day after vic- 
tory They had the quality of living in self-created 
worlds and of ignoring the different light in which con- 
ditions appear to others Such blandness puzzles real- 
ists and diplomats and yet ultimately wins them over, 
for they are- unable to combat an uncomfortable sus- 
picion that the possessors are touching the essence of 
things, and that appearances — disunity, tyranny, dirt, 
and poverty — are after all inconsequential 

A refugee on a cruiser, Sim wrote orders for the 
destruction of the “traitor Chen,” and signed them “The 
President” Chiang Kai-shek turned amanuensis and 
took the letters, and, when that was over, revealed other 
possibilities He was a graduate of the Impenal Mili- 
tary Academy of Japan, son of one of the Doctor’s early 
enthusiasts who had decimated a fortune m support of 
the revolutionary cause He was the obvious mihtary 
head to take the place of the false henchman Chen 

[75 3 



EMINENT ASIANS 


Sun accepted this with the same smug mattei-of-had- 
to-be-ness with which he leceived every lescue of fate. 
In the course of his long career Americans, Englishmen, 
Portuguese, Japanese, scoies of Chinese, old and young, 
had been attracted by a life utterly devoted to one end, 
and a magnetism of peisonality which its exerciser did 
^not know he possessed “Sun was a solemnly distuib- 
ing fellow,” observed Mr Gardner Raiding of the 
ChisUan Science Momtoi “I gave up trying to under- 
stand him long ago But there was something lovable 
about him that could not be disregarded or forgotten ” 

Sun received all who came without surprise and in- 
corporated them without question He assumed that 
any one who came in touch with him must be on his 
side Why shouldn’t men join him — ^he was the gen- 
eialissimo of leform' Once they admitted his com- 
mand, what could be doubtful about them?. The amaz- 
ing fact was that many lemained true and saciificed 
fortune and health without return It no more occuired 
to Sun that his henchmen must be rewarded than 
that they must be watched So the less worthy ever 
rewarded themselves, and the false ever played 
Judas 

Sun is safely on the British ship headed for Shanghai 
Ching-Ling is sleeping — these have been trying days for 
her Chiang Kai-shek, the worn chief’s new strength, 
comes respectfully to him “Teacher, I have made 
bold to keep a diary to these stoimy days I am 
thinking of publishing it, that your followers may know 

[ 76 ] 



SUN YAT-SEN 

your stalwartness Would you graciously inscribe a 
foreword?” 

As Sun takes it and slowly writes on the fiy-leaf, the 
curtain of his egotism for once goes up, providing a 
telling glimpse of the soul within “Only with the 
feeling that it is a monument to the devoted suffermgs 
of my supporters in this dark hour, rather than to the 
importance of my adventures, do I consent to the pub- 
lication of this little book Because I cannot judge 
men, conflagration has broken out, and is not yet 
quenched ” 

The last sentence is worthy of pause, for Sun is as 
incapable of writing in polite self-depreciation as in 
flattery of others But his defection from himself is 
fleeting, and thereafter he continues to the end, as posi- 
tive of his mission and his fitness for it as Mussolini 

The Seventy Guilds — ^merchant community of Can- 
ton — ^who had clandestinely favored Sun’s ejection, 
having lacked enthusiasm for the prospect of financing 
his punitive expedition and feared his socialistic drift, 
are now finding themselves out of the frying pan but 
in the fire, systematically looted by successive gangs 
of freebooters calling themselves armies of liberation 
Commander Chen is robbed of mitiative by the attitude 
of the masses, who regard his break with the Master 
as little short of sacrilege So Chiang Kai-shek, the 
diarist, returning secretly to Canton, as Chen did be- 
fore him, IS able to effect a coup, recruit an army, and 
drive Chen into the bamboo jungles — ^to the keen dis- 

[ 77 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


appointment of foreign diplomats and militaiy attaches 
who have made the Hakka the focus of their favois 
In 1923, Chiang uses, to bring Sun Yat-sen back, the 
very reactionaiy up-country forces which had diiven 
Sun out in 1917, and which Chen had in turn driven 
out m 1920 

Enough of this off-agam, on-again, gone-agam melo- 
drama' Back in Canton, Sun undertakes with a new 
and motion-saving surety of touch the effort which he 
senses will be his last For, although even Ching-ling 
does not realize it, one of his kidneys is almost con- 
sumed with disease The plump little wife-assistant 
seems glad of his grimness, and in the enthusiasm of 
vigorous womanhood is unable to credit his presenti- 
ments To save him the strain of accommodating him- 
self to changing clerks (Sun never kept one secretary 
long) she takes the strenuous writing woik herself, 
wielding the brush pen for hours each day She super- 
intends all his conferences, telling visitors when they 
should go 

The Russian training officers aiiive Sun places 
young Chiang Kai-shek at their head with orders to 
found a military training school at Whampoa, down- 
river fiom Canton He sees it as the breeding bed 
of a new Nationalist army, which is to be taught to 
fight for a cause, rather than out of personal loyalty 
to chieftains The most demanding problem is finance 
Sun needs some one whose interest will be in floating 
the cause, rather than his own fortune He must have 

[78] 



SUN YAT-SEN 

an idealist, a man who is absolutely his, and that means 
a young man Ching-ling suggests her brother, Soong 
Tien-wei, fresh from the Harvard School of Business 
and two years in the American Banking Corporation 
He IS assigned the task The able, experienced bankers 
of Canton aie amazed as well as offended But Sun 
IS choosing men well on this, his last, opportunity 
Within a year the boy financier has brought up the 
value of Canton’s bank notes — ^published by the Ameri- 
can Banknote Company in the design of the U S five- 
dollar bill with Sun’s head in place of Lincoln’s — from 
forty to one hundred cents on the dollar, and increased 
the provincial revenue tenfold 

Michael Borodin is set at building a department of 
political education for military and populace Its sci- 
entifically conducted propaganda clears the way for 
the Nationalist advance which would take place in 
1926-27 Announcing that he is growing old and 
wishes to provide a race-wide organization to cany on, 
Sun calls the first All-Chma and Overseas Convention 
of the Kuomintang He causes admission of Com- 
munist groups into the party On lines borrowed from 
the Russian Communists he levamps his party into a 
tool obedient to the hand It is given a central execu- 
tive committee of twenty-two members, with actual 
management in a select inner directorate He endorses 
organization of the workers and peasants Sun is more 
autocratic with his followers than ever before in his 
life, and succeeds with them better, because they sense 

[79] 



EMINENT ASIANS 

that he is constructing a control which his hand will 
soon lelease 

Sun’s old enemies, the foreign customs inspectors, 
aie collecting the revenue of his own rich territory from 
under his nose and sending it to Peking Sun does not 
let oppoitumties for “show-downs” slip because he is 
dl His physical pain seems to make him the less re- 
gardful of the Chinese axiom that sleeping tigeis are 
best left undisturbed He bungs the issue of sov- 
ereignty infringement and the “unequal treaties” into 
the headlines by threatening to seize the Customs 
House, and watches through somber eyes — although 
with an occasional twitching of the mouth — as frantic 
appeals for protection go to the Powers America falls 
naively into the trap by answering with five cruisers — 
a display of foice so absurdly large that her enviable 
reputation as a “nonmilitaristic” nation is shattered 
throughout China All factions, even Sun’s declared 
enemies at Peking, send him telegrams of sympathy 
Then the British, who have “found” three cruisers to 
follow America’s five, and to whom the customs service 
“belongs” anyhow, compromise with Sun on division 
of the revenue 

But all the organizing, all this showing up of the 
Powers, are incidental activities during Sun’s last year 
' His real work — the work that is to make him a god — 
IS his teaching and writing For the mind of young 
China he gives weekly lectures at Ling Nam University 
— formerly Canton Chnstian College but renamed 

[ 80 ] 



SUN YAT-SEN 


under the pressure of growing Nationalism In much 
simpler language he addresses groups of coolies and 
laborers, who leave the presence of the “Great Presi- 
dent” m an uplift of human dignity they have never 
felt before “He gives everybody ‘face,’ ” they re- 
mark to one another afterward over their long thimble- 
pipes 

Many hours he spends at his writing desk The 
masterful yet worshiping Ching-lmg sits on the other 
side, copying out clean drafts, in her larger and neater 
handwriting, or goes to the door to tell job hunters 
or consuls or concessionaires or newspapermen what the 
Doctor himself could never say that they cannot see 
him now He feels the pain of his mortal illness gnaw- 
ing within him, but he looks at her, all enthusiasm 
and vitality, and pulls himself upright in his chair, 
and rubs his, pen once more upon his ink-stone Thus 
are completed the thirteen large books and several 
score pamphlets bearing his name which soon have as 
their only rival in circulation in the Chinese language 
the Western subsidized Christian Bible Confucius 
runs a poor third 

Most important of the writings are the “Twenty-five 
Articles for the Rehabilitation of China,” drawn up, 
states the prologue, “m consultation with Wang Ching- 
wei and other tried leaders of the party” — ^which means 
that they listen and nod their heads Although Sun is 
easily influenced, his standard endorsement of a co- 
worker is “Wang does what I say ” 

[ 81 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


The leader will wish to pause in the culminating 
narrative for only the briefest summary of Sun Yat- 
senism in its final form The Twenty-five Articles out- 
line a procedure for gradual military conquest of China 
from south to north, province by province development 
of military rule first into civil party dictatorship and 
then into party representative government on the 
“Five-Department” system, universal assessment of 
land values and institution of percentage taxation (the 
values, strangely, to be set by owners themselves, held 
to honesty by the privilege of the government to buy 
property at value given), and gradual restoration of 
international dignity by abolition of the “unequal 
treaties” — taking over of customs collection and juris- 
diction of aliens — ^in step with the advance of the Na- 
tionalist armies In a way the program resembles the 
reconstruction schemes applied to the southern states 
after the American Civil War It was, in the main, 
actually to be followed in the Nationalist absorption of 
the country between 1926 and 1928 The authorized 
version, bearing a colophon in the bold strokes of Ching- 
Img, added at the doctor’s deathbed, would yet have 
a circulation of hundreds of thousands The world 
asks, “How ‘radical’ does the Chinese Nationalist 
leader become? Does he ‘go Bolshevik’?” 

His last writings aim briefly and frankly at an ideal- 
istic communism Yet he does not become completely 
Bolshevized any moie than he became completely 
Westernized or Christianized No Chinese, even though 

[82] 



SUN YAT-SEN 


as great a “sport” from racial t3^e as Sun Yat-sen, 
ever becomes completely “ized ” He argues 


The state must contnbute economic benefits directly to all 
Its citizens Its function is not filled in clearing a pathway 
for industrialists and capitalists, then leaving them responsible 
for the prosperity of the bulk of the population as in the 
capitalistic societies of the West On the other hand, our 
plan IS quite distinct from the hlarxian method Russia has 
tried the direct method of bringing equality — ^through enforced 
communism — for six years and pronounces it a failure We 
must try the indirect method — through an evolution, firmly 
guided and kept to schedule Immediate steps must be equali- 
zation of land holdings seriously unequal only in limited areas 
of our country and supervision of capital The state must 
own essential public services 


This IS as definite as political theorization can be, but 
gives obvioys enough opportunity for the division over 
interpretation which was to come Although later his 
worshipers would prefer to believe that had the “Di- 
rector” lived, factionalism would not have occurred, it 
IS obviously coming, and Sun Yat-sen gives indication 
of siding with the radicals, who are the fire of the move- 
ment, and condemning his conservative military head, 
Chiang Kei-shek, as he had Chen Ching-ming His old- 
est disciple and successor as president of the party, the 
widely-hked Wang Chung-hui, whose fat cheeks make 
him look like a perpetually humorous case of mumps, 
suffiaently explams Chinese relations with the Soviet in 
the Chinese phrase, “We must ally every treat-us-equal 

[ 83 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


nation The cause of the snubbed ever3^here is our 
cause, for their victories will contribute to ours ” 

It IS 1924 Sun has now carried on almost two years 
without breaking with his support But a crisis is brew- 
ing to end whatever monotony may exist He feels 
.his idealistic fieedom impaiied by the bourgeoisie upon 
whom he has had to rely for support He is being 
suffocated in the bosoms of fat merchants So to bal- 
ance his dependence upon the Seventy Guilds he fosters 
the new “coolie” unions Their communistic resolu- 
tions, framed for them by Russianized students, alarm 
the merchants and master-craftsmen, who reply to the 
menace by drilling their clerks into a very respectable 
Volunteei Corps The Corps imports a shipload of 
German aims Scenting a move against himself, Sun 
seizes the aims at customs and authorizes*' the laborers 
foicibly to dissolve the merchants’ corps Fighting 
ensues, a rich mercantile aiea of Canton is burned, 
several bundled clerks and coolies are killed Sun wins 
— ^but it IS an unstable victoiy 

The annual hot-weather war between the northern 
chieftains is just breaking out — this summei again be- 
tween Wu Pei-fu of Honan and Chang Tso-lm of Man- 
churia Sun again declaies against Wu and orders his 
Punitive Expedition northward General Wu’s subor- 
dinate, the “Chiistian General” Feng Yu-hsiang, be- 
trays and rums Wu, and Sun finds himself on the wm- 
ning side The northern militarists and politicians feel 

[84] 



SUN YAT-SEN 


constrained to issue him a tongue-m-cheek invitation 
to come up and help reconstruct the nation 

Once more — the last time — Sun’s egotism swings him 
away from the humble and hard-fought and sure road, 
away from his inner knowledge that these men were 
using him for their own ends, away from a sense of 
abasement at association with hypocrites He even 
brings himself to believe, superficially, in their conver- 
sion to his cause and leadership As at the time of Yuan 
Shih-kai, this is a bit easier when his own situation is 
becoming untenable anyhow Sun’s acceptance of the 
invitation is the last defeat of his dignity by his vanity, 
his experience by his optimism and trustfulness Only 
death saves him from face-robbing results 

He sets about to make the best of the opportunity, 
although he really knows it is no opportumty at all 
He issues a ^all for a national people’s convention, to 
be held in the lair of his enemies and the scene of his 
previous defeat This forces the hands of his doubtful 
allies and turns the spotlight on himself His journey 
to Peking becomes a triumphal progress — the Palm 
Simday preceding an obviously approaching Calvary 
Hongkong, which for thirty years has by turns 
scorned, detested, and feared Sun, now banquets him 
and listens adulatively to his rapid, low-voiced speeches 
In Japan, crowds still smarting from the blow of the 
new Amencan Immigration Act ® weep in stifled anger 


^July, 1924, Congress ignored the existence of the admimstrational 
'‘Gentlemen’s Agreement” and discriminated against “Asiatics” by declinmg 

[ 85 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


as Sun pictures an East uniting to uphold its racial 
dignity so airogantly flouted by the white man Sun’s 
speech in the Kobe Y M C A marks a turning point in 
the Japanese popular attitude towaid the lecently-de- 
spised neighbor It becomes ceitain that the Japanese 
government will never again openly join with “white” 
, exploiters of another Asiatic people 

Sun’s declarations shock Americans and Euiopeans, 
many of whom have approved and abetted his activi- 
ties, and who have proudly claimed him as a disciple 
of Western culture Some of them are particularly 
pained by his attack upon the mission movement as 
an “agent of imperialism ” The anti-missionary busi- 
ness community which likes this does not like his de- 
mand foi the ending of their treaty-sacred prerogatives 
But they, rather than Sun, are illogical They say that 
he IS not well, which is true, but where they imply that 
he is not normal they are simply deceiving themselves 
As Sun continues northward the noithein chiefs mani- 
fest resentment and alaim at his obvious intention to 
be the whole show Through mental constitution as 
well as principle, Sun must be all or nothing The mili- 
tarists and politicians extend him a conventional wel- 
come on his arrival in Peking, December 31, 1924 De- 
termined to beat them down, he replies with an abrupt 
denunciation of their insincerity He declines their 
hospitality and goes to the Grand Hotel de Pekin, the 

to put “aliens mebgible to atizensbip” on the quota basis The actual 
working of the law chiefly affected Japanese 

[ 86 ] 



SUN YAT-SEN 


lavish resort of Western tourists The Sanhedrin coun- 
sel on how to combat his obstreperousness Would it 
do to imprison him — or would that have entirely the 
wrong effect? 

While they are pondering Ching-Img takes him, des- 
perately stricken, to the hospital of the Rockefeller 
Foundation A stroke of fortune, from their viewpoint’ 
They send cartloads of flowers to his room, and shake 
hands with themselves in congratulation 

The fighter is down at last’ The outlaw who has 
been hunted over three continents lies helpless in the 
city of his pursuers His son, the mayor, hurries from 
Canton, and his daughter from Macao, her husband 
now practices medicine lucratively where his famous 
father-in-law had been barred Disciples and pre- 
tenders from every part of Pacific Asia vie to get to 
his bedside The papers announce the arrivals It is 
a matter of personal distinction to be present 

The doctors and nurses at the Peking Union Medi- 
cal College complain that the old reformer is a can- 
tankerous patient He keeps a half dozen of them run- 
ning day and night Ching-hng is required to remain 
alert with a wetted ink-brush to write messages or 
record ideas as the whim strikes him She remains 
dry-eyed — ^she cannot believe that this is mortal He 
constantly refuses to take his medicine, except when 
some very pretty nurse sits on his bed and firmly feeds 
it to him He can still capitulate to feminine beauty 
and determination 


E873 



EMINENT ASIANS 


The doctors finally pronounced his disease a neglected 
bladder and kidney complication past healing A sur- 
gical attempt proves useless They tell him he must 
die Whereupon he rebels against the wielder of the 
scythe, leaves the hospital in a huff, goes to the home 
of Wellington Koo, and issues a public announcement 
that he will live And he, the first practitioner of 
Western medical science to graduate in China, turns 
to the Chinese herb doctois It is his final lebellion, 
that brings him around the ciicle to the culture from 
which he started 

All vain, of course Still he clings so tenaciously to 
life that report after report of the end, published 
through China and the world, has to be retracted Sun 
comes to be more of a myth than a man, suspended half- 
way between the living and the dead Then, at the 
end of a three days’ dust storm m March,- as the trees 
are leafing out and the inhabitants are unsewmg them- 
selves in the bright sunshine from the garments of 
winter, the old Director summons Ching-ling, smiles, 
and asks for a pad and brush First he writes to the 
chiefs of the Soviet at Moscow 

I charge the Kuommtang to continue the work of the revo- 
lutionary movement, so that China, reduced by the impel lalists 
to the position of a semi-colonial count! y, shall become free 
With this object I have mstiucted the party to be in constant 
contact with you I firmly believe in the continuance of the 
support which you have hitherto accorded to my country 
Taking leave of you, dear comrades, I want to express the 
hope that the day will soon come when the U S S R will 

[ 88 ] 



SUN YAT-SEN 


welcome a friend and an ally in a mighty, free China, and 
that in the great struggle foi the liberation of the oppressed 
peoples of the world those allies will go forward to victory, 
hand in hand 

Then he scrawls “My Will” on the edge of a sheet, 
followed by 

I have given my utmost strength to the people’s revolution 
for full foity years My goal is to seek liberty and equality 
for China From forty years’ experience I deeply know that 
if our desire is to attain its goal ^e must arouse the [common] 
people of the clans, also ally earth’s tieat-us-equal nations 
and struggle along with them 

The revolution is not completed' All of the same mind 
with me must, according to the plan of construction I have 
set forth through the Three People’s Principles and the procla- 
mation of the First All-Nation Representative Assembly, 
unite, struggle to the utmost, take advantage of every turn of 
affairs, open a people’s parliament right on to the abrogating 
of the unequal, treaties More you must in the shortest time 
push these things through to manifest fruits This is the final 
command 

As, during his life, his cause has been his only pos- 
session, so, facing death, he makes it his only formal 
legacy All of Sun’s true driving purpose, all of his 
idealism, all of his vision, all of his egotism, all of his 
weakness is in these last one hundred and forty-five 
ideographs of his prolific pen 

He hands them to Ching-ling with an order to read 
them back “Reads all right, but hardly a model of 
calligraphy Make a clear copy for me to sign,” grunts 
the man whose bold, simple, egotistic pen-specimens re- 

[ 89 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


garded to a greater degiee by the Chinese than by us as 
index of the soul, are prized thioughout Pacific Asia 
Chmg-ling ministers in reveiential silence, bowed, 
now, befoie the inevitable, her full heart well controlled 
Since death alone can ease hei lord’s toiment, she craves 
it foi him 

His son and several intimate disciples enter He 
oiders that he be interred at Nanking, where he had 
received the honor of Chief Executive, on the slope of 
Purple Mountain beside the huge tumulus of the Great 
Ming This is his sublimely challenging estimate of 
his own greatness, flung from defeat and misery to a 
supercilious world The time will come, he implies, 
when the blase “Southern Capital” will boast equally 
of the tombs of Sun Yat-sen and Ming the Founder 
Let the readei attest that he was right' 

As an aftei thought, he suggests a bronze and glass 
coffin “like Lenin’s ” He is dreaming of a similar pres- 
eivation of his body for the inspiration of the masses, 
the donation of his corpse to make a shrine to patriotism 
Possibly also he craves peisonal notice after death He 
thinks of himself as a peer not only of the medieval 
Asiatic Ming Emperoi but of the modem inspirer of 
Asians Lenin Does this seem incongruous? Not so, 
viewed through Asian eyes 

On March 12, 1925, he raises himself and beckons 
to practically the entire Kuomintang committee which 
has gathered at his bedside “Struggle — Peace,” he 
whispers, and sinks back dead We set down these 

[90] 



SUN YAT-SEN 

words as he wished for the paradoxical keywords to 
his soul Peace may yet come out of his struggle — 
peace and power for China, and then, mayhap, if the 
Western world have not cast away its fetishes of domi- 
nation and arrogance, the greater, finally destructive, 
humanity-extermmating struggle 

Immediately arises the inevitable dispute “What 
were the Sainted Master’s real beliefs — The Sovi- 
etized ones in Sun’s coterie maintain that he has re- 
nounced religion during his last year and should have 
a purely Communist ceremony But Ching-ling, whose 
political radicalism is kept m a different compartment 
from her religion, quietly insists upon a Christian 
service It is held m the Union Medical College chapel 
by the extremist George Chien Hsu, Nationalist Minis- 
ter of Justice, who brings forth the argument from the 
Bible that CJiristianity embiaces Communism and that 
Dr Sun was a communist because he was a Christian 
A typically Chinese compromise, and every one is flat- 
tered, including the missionaries who crowd the little 
hall 

“Left and right” factionalism do not remove from 
Ching-lmg the honor of “first lady” in China She 
ranks in popular adulation with Mu Lan, the patriot 
woman warrior of the Han Dynasty, and Chao Chun, 
the tragic beauty who purchased with her life surcease 
from Mongol attack, but she is a hundred times more 
conscious of her purpose than they The difference is 
that which separates old and new China If one ques- 

[ 91 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 

tion whether the association with Sun Yat-sen was 
woith the SOI lows of it to Ching-ling, he may read the 
answer in her countenance, more beautiful now than 
evei in girlish freshness The rounded face, made 
sweet through suffering, the full sympathetic lips, and 
the intelligent eyes speak eloquently — as do eveiy 
woman’s of some man — of Sun Yat-sen 

The religious ceiemony over, theie follows the “le- 
ceiving of the obeisance of the nation” m which the 
Communists have things more their way In the great 
hall of the umbrella-roofed state library of Central 
Paik, part of the former Forbidden City from which the 
Son of Heaven had been ejected so largely thrqugh 
Sun’s efforts, he lies under drapeiies of Red and Na- 
tionalist flags, while M Karahan, the Armenian Ambas- 
sadoi for the Soviet, comes foiward as chief diplomatic 
mourner His nice confieres of the Legq,tion Quarter 
are therefore able to be present only through floral 
wreaths, in which led flowers are primly avoided But 
the people look at the decorations of flaunting red and 
over their millet gruel and their gaming sticks whisper, 
“Newfangled foreign-devil idea this — the color of joy 
at a funeral i ” 

The Russian Ambassador has claimed for his gov- 
ernment the privilege of fulfilling the leformer’s last 
wish for a “coffin like Lenin’s ” Pending its arrival 
his body is taken along sanded avenues to the Indian- 
architectured Hidden Cloud Temple m the Western 
Hills The cortege pauses at frequent mourning sta- 

[ 92 ] 



SUN YAT-SEN 

tions of elaborate matting and bamboo-work, each of 
which shelters an altar bearing an enlarged photograph 
of the deceased At each a short eulogism is read and 
the mourners sign m a book The ponderous temporary 
wooden coffin is drawn to the highest niche of the 
temple by silken cords over disfiguring trestle-work 
erected for the purpose 

The long-awaited bronze and glass contraption from 
Moscow comes on a special car via the Trans-Siberian. 
It IS too shabbily constructed and too short to be used* 
So in a six-inch thick sampan-shaped box such as housed 
his ancestors, the Father of China — the Nation — will 
be entrained for Purple Mountain A magnificent 
memorial will stand there, overshadowing the weather- 
beaten, willow-covered tumulus of Ming the Founder 
Young Chinese architects of the modernized but not 
Westernize4, school prepare impressive designs Art 
lives, as well as politics, in this China 

One year after Sun Yat-sen’s death I began to write 
this story, and my friends, the Old China Hands, said 
“Who will want to read about Sun? He’s forgotten and 
his disciples have all found other nests ” Chang Tso-hn 
of Manchuria, having driven the heavyweight Chnstian 
General Feng (who had let Chang into China by be- 
traying Wu) into the wastes of the Gobi Desert with a 
decimated army, sat secure as dictator at Peking Wu, 
in turn, was rehabilitating himself at Hankow and the 
little militarists of that central region were gathering to 
his fold Then occurred the aSair of the Shanghai 

[ 93 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


British police commissioner and the students “It’s a 
good job Sun’s dead,” said the Old China Hands 
“What he would have made out of this'” But the 
people and little militarists of the central region were 
indignant that Wu tried to remain friends with the 
foreigneis, and opened Hankow to Amanuensis-Gen- 
eralissimo Chiang Kai-shek, coming north from Canton 
through the rice marshes and over the steep bamboo- 
coated ridges with Sun Yat-sen’s Nationalist army 
General Wu ended up in a temple in the marshes of 
Tibet, painting pictures 

Two years after Sun’s death the Old China Hands 
were doing patrol behind barbed wire and m the filthy 
canals surrounding the Shanghai Settlement, and say- 
ing to one another “Damn Sun Yat-sen' See the mess 
he started I’’ 

And then Chiang Kai-shek, the generahssimo, and 
T V Soong, the young finance wizard, and other leaders 
broke with their Russian assistants Old China Hands 
said “Well, that finishes this Nationalist movement 
’Twas Russian brains that made it ” There were dis- 
ruption and civil war in the movement And Japan 
flung an army into Shantung to protect her nationals 
that was a wall of safety behind which Chang Tso-lm 
at Peking smiled m assurance But Dictator Chang of 
the delicate hands and pearl-topped hat could not pre- 
vent the sale of Sun Yat-sen’s photograph and “Three 
Determinations” in the market stalls of his own capital, 
and he dared not oppose the becoming of Sun’s bier in 

[ 94 ] 



SUN YAT-SEN 

the high niche of Hidden Cloud Temple a shrine of 
patriots 

Chiang Kai-shek and T V Soong and their fellows 
tuined to the new industrial plutocracy of Shanghai 
for the support they must have now that they had cast 
off the Russians Chmg-hng, beautiful widow of the 
founder and inspirer of the cause, repudiated them, and 
retired to Moscow, saying, “I would rather see the 
Master’s cause go down in rum than be sold to fat 
Shanghai merchants ” But her young brother, Soong, 
said, ‘Tt IS the unavoidable evolution which every na- 
tion must pass through Out of feudalism into indus- 
trial plutocracy, then gradually through democracy into 
socialism It is useless to try to outrun natural laws 
Great Britain, America, Japan, are all following this 
evolution China cannot be an exception ” There 
were heartbreaks enough The author bore the mes- 
sage to Ching-lmg in Moscow, bowing at Lenm’s tomb, 
pale as an angel “Your younger brother, Tzu Wen, 
salutes you ” Her eyes were already large with the 
beauty of the dread white plague “I have no brother,” 
she replied, clear, low and sad With her into exile 
went the Chinese-British-Afncan firebrand, Eugene 
Chen, early secretary to Sun, who had outfaced the 
plenipotentiaries of the Powers with his biting diplo- 
matic repartee 

Three years after the Master, now generally the 
“Sainted Master,” went into the niche in Hidden Cloud, 
Generahssimo Chiang marched from his Nanking base 

[ 95 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


once moio upon Peking Once more a Japanese army 
lay m Ins path, and nasty incidents occuired, and he 
was stopped But Feng the Huge had come down out 
of the Gobi and built a new army, and C T Wang of 
Shanghai, no longer young, had become his liaison with 
Nationalism of the Shanghai bourgeois stamp And 
Kung of the house of Confucius, who had married 
Chmg-lmg’s sister of the house of Sun, persuaded Model 
Satiap Yen of Shanshi province to come out of his 
sixteen-year seclusion into national affairs, and Feng 
and Yen came down on Peking behind the Japanese 
lines Chang Tso-lin had bigger and better armies but 
Sun Yat-semsm had captured them — ^the soldiers would 
not fight Chang fled out of Peking to bump into 
a charge of dynamite under the Japanese railioad 
trestle at the entrance to his own city of Mukden, and 
the movement bearing Sun Yat-sen’s name was su- 
preme 

Generalissimo Chiang and Finance Executive Soong 
came up to Peking to demote the proud city to a pro- 
vincial capital, change its name to Peping® and re- 
move the government archives to the capital chosen for 
the new nation — necessarily near to Shanghai money — 
Nanking '‘The Legations will be in no hurry recog- 
nizing the new regime, or following it about the country 
to whatever new seat of government may for the mo- 
ment be chosen,” said the American Minister to me 

0 Peking, ^^Northem capital,” properly pronounced bay iiow 

changed to Pepmg, ‘^Northern peace,” pronounced bay ping Nanking, 
“Southern capital,” properly pronounced nan png 

[ 96 ] 



SUN YAT-SEN 

under the acacia blossoms of his beautiful garden one 
evening in June The next morning at ten o’clock (a 
cable had come from Washington) he signed a tariff 
autonomy treaty with T V Soong which gave Ameri- 
can recognition to the Nationalist government A few 
days before New Year of 1929, Great Britain outdid 
America by firing twenty-one guns to Chief Executive 
Chiang Kai-shek, who after the example of George 
Washington, had laid down the sword for civil office 
The saluting ships lay in the same spot in the Yangtze 
River from which British vessels had bombarded Nan- 
king in 1842 and (in alternation with American) in 
1926 

The great coffin may come down now from the niche 
in Hidden Cloud Temple, the Guards of the Corpse, 
who were youths of Chiang Kai-shek’s cadet school 
when assigned this distinguished watch and are now 
grown men, may end their long vigil Sun Yat-sen may 
have his last ride between the endless Imes of worship- 
ing admirers through the city which he robbed of 
its throne and whose forbidden parks are now play- 
grounds of laughing children and whose golden-tiled 
palaces are hushed museums, then on across the sun- 
drenched width of a now conquered North China, 
through the new capital city on a sixty-foot wide ave- 
nue constructed for his passing, on to the great, simple, 
pagoda-like sepulcher beside the brown tumulus of 
Mmg the Founder And as the shadows fall over 
Purple Mountain, named for its sunset beauty, and over 

[97] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


broad Lotus Lake at its foot, and the hewn-rock walls 
of the new-old city beyond, Sun Yat-sen’s children in 
the faith can turn from installing the sacred remains 
to announce that Modem China has officially begun and 
that Nanking has received the seal honor as its new 
capital 

. Nanking sends a special delegation to the proud city 
it now flouts to escort the corpse on its journey, and 
on March 9, 1929 the great wooden coffin is placed 
in state in the court of the one-time Viceroy’s Yamen 
where seventeen years ago Sun Yat-sen confidently took 
the oath of office as first Chief Executive of China, and 
where his one-time amanuensis now exeicises the great 
seal of President Three days later, third anniversary 
of his death, he reaches his final resting place, and 
Chiang Kai-shek, Sun Fo, and the hundreds of party 
leaders and delegates of the Third All-China and Over- 
seas Congress of the Nationalist Party turn from 
Purple Mountain to the Congress hall to struggle over 
which faction, conservative or radical, and what policy 
shall fall heir to the Sainted Master’s name 
Chmg-lmg has come across Eurasia from Switzerland, 
to accompany the beloved remams from Peking and 
spend her last energy in the fight, and politiaans are a 
little silent and awed when she passes 
Thus does the spint of Sim Yat-sen go marching on 
Whatever the vicissitudes of the fascist regime known 
as “Nationalist,” it is certain that it will continue to 
march on until “m international intercourse, govern- 

[98] 



SUN YAT-SEN 


ment, and communications China is equal to other na- 
tions, and assured of permanence on the earth ” 
More the Sun Yat-sen idea will persist until all Asia 
has attained recognition of political independence and 
social equality from the now dominant West — or until 
its effort to attain these has ended in the cataclysm of 
civilization 

Enlarged reproductions of Sxm Yat-sen’s formal will 
m Chmg-lmg’s open characters and his own quavering 
signature hang over the dais in Kuomintang headquar- 
ters m every village of China and every city throughout 
the world It has been memorized by more schoolboys 
than the preamble to the American Declaration of In- 
dependence “The Revolution is not completed'” — 
tocsin of Asia’s awakening' 

But those of us who are more attracted by the in- 
finite nuanges of the human heart than the awakening 
of laces will turn rather to the crumpled note found 
under the dead revolutionist’s pillow when the em- 
balmers picked up his body 

“I beg Chmg-lmg, my wife and comrade, to accept 
my books, my old clothes, and the house in Shanghai, 
not as a bequest — ^because my few accumulations can- 
not be called an estate — ^but as a souvenir ” 




YA]\IAGATA AND ITO 

18^8-1^22 1841-igog 




YAMAGAXA 


I 


A mericans acquainted with the plan of this 
book while under preparation have usually 
taken Sun Yat-sen, Gandhi, Kemal, and Stalin 
)r granted, but have looked blank at mention of Yama- 
ita and Ito Yet the nation makers of modern Japan 
ave been no less spectacular in life and deed than 
lose of China, India, Turkey, or Russia It would 
?em that although Japan is the best apprehended Asian 
ation in the West, its leaders are the least known to 
/■esterners Perhaps Admiral Togo’s name alone has 
ecome a household word m Europe and America — ^as 
Japanese should know, in Amencan history, only the 
ame of Dewey 

No more fhrilhng story exists than that of the rise 
f two young pages of feudal Japan to the rank of 
rinces in a modern world power Ito the Astute built 
le Japanese political structure Yamagata the Master- 
il built the Japanese military machine There are 
E course other names in the group of young kmghts 
ad pages who undertook to make an obscure group of 
siatic islands into a world power, succeeded in a gen- 
ration, and gained for themselves reverence as “Elder 
tatesmen” before they were forty Kido, Okubo, and 
aigo the Greater mixed the dough Itagaki, Inouye, 
aigo the Lesser, the Gotos, Okuma, Saionji, Matsu- 

[ 103 ] 


EMINENT ASIANS 


kata, and half a score others added leaven But the per- 
sonalities of Yamagata and Ito determined the shape 
of the loaf and the conflict between them provided the 
heat which baked it 

Both men sprang from the impoverished lower fringe 
of the samurai or warrior caste and both served at 
tender ages as servants of their more fortunate fellows 
Yamagata was to bring about the abolition of this 
hereditary warrior aristocracy and build in its stead a 
modem military caste, while Ito, after risking his hfe to 
obtam an education abroad, enduring both dangerous 
and ludicrous adventures, was to establish Japan’s for- 
eign relations, and ultimately become the father of 
Japanese democracy 

The two were born of the same clan, went to the 
same school, and were always promoted in rank simul- 
taneously Beginning their active careers m their teens 
with a Joshua and Caleb mission to spy out the strength 
of the feudal tyranny, they fought side by side for fifty 
years m the cause of establishing the dignity of the 
Kingdom of the Rising Sun among the nations They 
were the inner confidants and real advisers of the wor- 
shiped Emperor of the Restoration, Matsuhito, now 
glorified posthumously as the Meiji (Enlightened Ad- 
ministration) Emperor Many pretty stories are told 
of the intercourse of this very human Sacred Person 
and the two men who molded his young manhood and 
were cherished as his friends 

The lives of Yamagata and Ito were a recurring duel 
[ 104 ] 



YAMAGATA AND ITO 

While Yamagata was building the modern army, Ito 
was drafting a constitution While Yamagata was es- 
tablishing a new military oligarchy, Ito was attempting 
to found party government While Yamagata sought 
empire on the continent, Ito sought peace abroad and 
progress at home Paradoxical Japan of to-day with 
its strengths and its weaknesses is the result 

To the Emperor must be given credit that from the 
clash of these opposite temperaments came a resultant 
force meaning, on the whole, progress to the nation 
Yet the Emperor was often used in a manner which 
must have been anything but pleasant for him 

Ito fought for the love of fighting, Yamagata never 
fought without a cause Ito, who in youth was a 
healthy swashbuckler, grew into horror of military meth- 
ods and became Japan’s great protagonist of peaceful 
growth Ydhiagata, as a child delicate and retiring, 
and a dyspeptic throughout life, established Japan’s 
warlike reputation, and became the patron of jingoism 
Ito was reckless of his own life and money, demo- 
cratic m bearing, loved society, and made innumerable 
acquaintances At heart, he was something of a snob 
His strength in the duel lay m the unconventionality 
of his friendship with the Emperor, a control of official 
patronage, and such loyalty as a politician can reckon 
on Yamagata was painstaking, aloof, and aristocratic 
His weapons were control of military promotion and 
the respect of the nation for his samurai austerity He 
sincerely desired the welfare of the common people but 

[ 105 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


did not see it coming through democracy He kept his 
heart as steel because he knew his heart was tender 
Ito could handle delicate situations which Yamagata 
would not dare to touch But when it was necessary 
for the good of the Empire as he saw it, Yamagata, the 
calculating, would control Ito, the intuitive, like a pup- 
pet on a string More and more as the years of their 
public life continued, the two men clashed and com- 
promised Ito submitted, more and more hating his sub- 
mission, Yamagata, while forcing Ito to do his will, 
despised him a little for his weakness, pitied his unhap- 
pmess, and silently loved him 
When the conclusion of Ito’s last ambiguous, and 
this time dangerous, mission on the continent was re- 
ported m a message to Prince Yamagata — ^“Safe in 
Harbin” — the old marshal breathed a sigh of relief that 
his rival had come through alive Then, few minutes 
later, the Japanese Imperial Telegraphs, true to their 
whimsical custom, sent a second messenger with the 
correction of one Japanese syllable, which changed the 
sense to “Shot m Harbin ” 

Thereafter, until the last of his fourscore and five 
years, Marshal Prince Yamagata was supreme in the 
empire, but he was very lonely 

II 

In the lush spring of 1850, three years before Com- 
modore Perry sailed into Tokyo with President Fill- 

[106] 



YAMAGATA AND ITO 

more’s isolation-ending demand, and while knowledge 
of Japan in the West had not greatly advanced beyond 
that found in Marco Polo’s secondhand reports of the 
“Islands of the Far Indies,” a small-boned, wiry man 
trod a footpath through a field of knee-high rice over- 
looking Japan’s Inland Sea, bearing a burden strangely 
inconsistent with his garb For he was a samurai, who 
swung from his belt the two swords of the reverenced 
and ruling caste — the long one to cut down enemies or 
any yokel who might happen to obstruct his path, and 
the short one to cut out his own bowels in event of 
dishonor But on his back, riding the seat of an oikko, 
a man-yoke for carrying firewood, was an undersized, 
pale, nine-year-old boy As the man stopped and 
straightened up, allowing the support-stick of the otkko 
to touch ground and take the load, the lad unclasped 
his long, pale fingers from the “warrior’s knot” on his 
father’s head by which he steadied himself 

“Risuke, son,” said the man, placing one hand on 
the long sword, “when you shall have to move your 
family you will take your son in a palanquin and your 
women in litters I proved that noble blood could raise 
nee But the village feud and the usurers wiped us out 
back in the old home Now that our rank has been 
restored through the fatherlmess of the noble Ito-san 
to whom we go — ^and whose grandson, remember, you 
now are — ^it will fare better with us Don’t forget the 
proper obeisance when our master receives you ” 
They turned about and waited for the little mother, 

[ 107 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


who in plain married woman’s kimono but bright butter- 
fly oh% or bustle, pushed along her wooden geta with 
her little turned-m feet, bearing the silk floss pads of 
the family bed 

Juzo Hayashi, a defamilied descendant of the Em- 
peror Korei, had ambitions for this delicate but pre- 
cocious mne-year-old He hardly saw so far as to en- 
vision Risuke achieving the title of Prince in a new 
world power But he was pleased to think that the lad 
would now have his chance, since Buhei Ito, a samurai 
footman to the Daimyo (or “Great Name”) of Choshu, 
had, after the Japanese habit, preferred the reliable 
Hayashi to his own offspring as son and heir And 
Choshu, guarding the southwest extremity of the mam 
island, was most powerful of all clans bordering the 
Inland Sea 

The custom of adoption has enabled Japanese fami- 
lies to retain their amazing vigor century after century 
and made the Imperial House the only one in history 
which has not “petered out ” Of doubtful good is the 
tendency to abandon it Surnames have been more 
readily shifted in Japan than given names m the West, 
and it was as “Ito” that the honest Juzo husbanded 
the estate and young Risuke grew up m the little west- 
coast town of Hagi, seat of their lord’s castle near the 
Korean strait 

Memories brought by the observant lad from his 
birth village of Tsugari-mura were of transplanting, 
flooding, and gleamng the rice, and the httle lore of the 

[ 108 ] 



YAMAGATA AND ITO 

village school, where, aged six, and having dropped the 
baby name, Jukichi, he had begun the routine Chinese 
classical course He had already received his earliest 
impressions of public policy, too, as with one hand 
firmly clasping his father’s kimono sleeve he had lis- 
tened to discussion in village councils, or had heard with 
vague inner disturbance his father’s anxious talk to 
silent wife and mother of thirty per cent interest and 
rentals, grain levies of the feudal lord, and offerings 
to the temple Now, at the Daimyo’s castle town, 
among fighting retameis of the clan, the boy was 
plunged mto an entirely new atmosphere of resentment 
and belligerency The dissatisfaction of the common 
people was surpassed by that of the aristocracy Under 
the firm and guileful hand of the Tokugawas in Yedo 
(Tokyo) who had reduced both Imperial House and 
remaining feudal lords to submission, peace and isola- 
tion had continued for two and a half centuries — far 
too long for the good of the warrior caste 

This class was thoroughly dissatisfied with the Sho- 
gunate’s sponsorship of schools of Chinese philosophy, 
poetry, and No dancing, rather than tournaments at 
arms and wars against the northern barbarians or 
Korean neighbors It was having to go to work on 
the land— even to go into trade — the same as any 
despised commoner who could be cut down on the street 
to test the sharpness of a sword, and it was standing 
by and witnessing the gradual granting of the rights of 
humanity, which it had always arrogated to itself alone, 

[ 109 ] 



EMINENT ASIMSTS 


to these same commoners, who were becoming more and 
more necessary to the Shogunate as the samurai were 
becoming more and more alienated 

Furthermore, the government at Yedo was compro- 
mising the dignity of Nihon by dealing with the W estern 
barbarians pressing her shores This was unforgivable 
sm, justification enough to conservatives for any vio- 
lence or intrigue For His Sacred Person’s sake and 
that of national pride, the Emperor must be liberated 
from domination by shoguns of the Tokugawa house, 
and put under guidance of real patriots — such as (it 
was implied in Choshu) the knights of Choshu’ 

The controversy was idealized, after the manner of 
childhood, m young Ito’s mind He would become a 
bold knight, he would himself murder the wicked Toku- 
gawa who usurped the Son of Heaven’s prerogatives’ 
Getting his ambitions and history somewhart mixed, he 
called himself the “new conqueror Hideyoshi,” and 
daily as the gloom of evenmg made it impossible for 
him longer to read, he drew a cartoon of “Great 
Monkey-face ” the sixteenth century nation-xmifier 
really responsible for the nse of the hated usurping 
Tokugawa system This Hideyoshi and his successors 
had driven the pale or rather “pink” barbarians and 
their religion of the cross from Japan in the sixteenth 
and seventeenth centuries when Spam was the van- 
guard of Europe’s thrust Now that the thrust was 
being resumed under Anglo-Saxon leadership, a new 
Hideyoshi was needed China, Japan’s great tutor em- 

[ 110 ] 



YAMAGA.TA AND ITO 

pire, had for the first time been humbled by a Western 
Power a year after young Ito was born The reper- 
cussions of that event in anxious Japan were among the 
first sounds in the lad’s precocious ears 

Beneath his pale skin, in spite of scrawny limbs, 
Risuke carried a stout heart He had an affable, ingra- 
tiating manner, becoming at once a part of his surround- 
ings, yet was at the same time a good deal of a bully 
From childhood he made friends in hosts, but through- 
out life was to be liked lather than loved In imitation 
of the elders, most of his games were war games, and 
he contrived often to be leader on the winning side 
Sheer love of fight, outlet for a nervous mstabihty, 
dominated his teens, and, years before he was twenty, 
game and contest were replaced by fierce realities of 
duel and ambush 

When cornered he showed a quick-witted ruthless- 
ness One day the opposition onslaught with bamboo 
spears, childish bows and arrows, and mud bombs from 
the shmy tide flats, forced a retreat in spite of Ito’s 
desperate generalship He thereupon led windward mto 
a dry field and whipping out his flint and tinder set 
fire to the grass The pursuers to leeward escaped, with 
severe burns, and Risuke was praised for resourceful- 
ness by the samurai — ^including some fathers of the 
scorched children ' “He will be a great man or a vaga- 
bond,” they said Either prospect satisfied their flair 
for the romantic 

Samurai Japan was a curious combination of ebulli- 

[ 111 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


ence and nicety— heroized “wild West” violence along- 
side most refined manners and ceremonialism imported 
fiom China One might commit an assassination for 
the honor of his lord or himself on the way to a tea- 
drinkmg ceremony or incense-smelling party 

In the new home, Risuke attended a very good pri- 
vate school, which, however, “also took commoners ” 
His mother’s uncle, the old Buddhist monk Keiun, 
meanwhile tutored him m Chinese writing and versify- 
ing, which became his proudest accomplishment, and 
in as much of the Buddha’s placid gospel as the hot- 
headed lad was willing to absorb Buddhism in Japan, 
however, compromised notably with the active Japanese 
nature 

One winter’s day, Risuke was sent to a distant house 
to return a pair of geta (wooden “stilt-shoes”) lent his 
master to wear home during a sudden snow Surry The 
road was slushy and the air as law as southern Japan 
ever knows The shivering lad passed by his own home 
and would have slipped m to hover a bit over the char- 
coal brazier, but his mother, discovering that he was 
on an errand, refused to admit him across the veranda 
The mothers of Sparta and Japan had similar ideas of 
child training His grandmother, who witnessed the 
incident, related “He turned back to the road without 
a word of complaint, but piteously The picture will 
never fade from my mmd ” 

Between errands Risuke read the romantic pseudo- 
histories of his country, and each night drew his pic- 

[ 112 ] 



YAMAGATA AND ITO 

tuie of Hideyoshi Then his father would arrive home, 
give him enough octagonal coppers, come by through 
the day, to buy another night’s fuel for the lamp, and 
the lad would plod through the dark a mile and back 
to get the means of cheating the night for an hour or 
two Ito, studying Confucius or tales of Hideyoshi at 
a smoky bean-oii wick and warming one extremity after 
another at a tiny charcoal brazier, may not be as pic- 
turesque as Lincoln reading his Bible and Wecm’s 
Washington before a roaring backwoods fire, but 
there can be no doubt he was quite as uncomfortable 
Risuke was servant to the knight Ryozo Kuruhara, 
and thirteen years of age, Japanese count — twelve by 
ours — ^when the entire nation was electrified by the 
arrival in Yedo harbor of the “black monster ships” of 
an unknown but evidently powerful new aggressor For 
Japan could look upon Commodore Perry’s squadron, 
which came to exact guarantees of safety for American 
whaling and trade, m no other light 

The Shogunate government at Yedo had been warned 
by the Dutch king — ^the only Western potentate with 
whom Japan had maintained relations since Hideyoshi’s 
time — of the power and determination of America But 
more, it feared an uprising of the truculent clans should 
it compromise the traditional policy of haughty aloof- 
ness, or, on the other hand, impair the national “face” 
by an unsuccessful clash with the foreigner And so it 
temporized with the Commodore, asking him to come 
back next year, and made a pretense of common pur- 

[ 113 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


pose with the chauvinist clans by ordering them to 
guard the coasts and asking the daimyos for advice, 
and of consideration for the Emperor in keeping his 
minions informed of events and assigning new levies to 
defend Kyoto The net result was that Yedo authority 
got imder suspicion and contempt all around and raised 
a storm of semi-open discussion that it never again 
could stifle 

The Choshu samurai were made responsible for a sec- 
tion of coastline just south of Yedo It gave them a 
welcomed chance to concentrate forces near the head- 
quarters of the dominant Tokugawa Ito’s master 
Kuruhara seized the opportunity to become an officer 
in the coastguard at Sagami When Risuke had turned 
fifteen, Western reckoning, Kuruhara sent for him and 
inducted him into the clan army as a page He per- 
sonally took charge of the young man’s training in the 

A 

samurai spirit In winter he rode past Ito’s barracks 
before dawn, summoned him out of bed, and took him 
off on horseback, discussing letters as they rode along 
He did not allow the lad to wear the tabt (cleft-footed 
socks) in winter — ^he had to swing his gefa through the 
snow with bare feet 

Perry, waiting m Chinese harbors, received a letter 
begging him to postpone his return three years, on 
account of inconvenience due to death of a Shogun and 
selection of another, but the American admiral waited 
not even a full year as the government had assumed 
from their agreement, and returned immediately after 

[H4] 



YAMAGATA AND ITO 


Chinese New Year’s — technically “next year” The 
Japanese negotiators had not supposed this idiom to be 
used by barbarians, but the shrewd Yankee had ascer- 
tained that it was common in Japan 

He caught them entirely off guard — they had hoped 
in SIX months to say from behind new defense works 
“Get out, or we sink your ships ” But to their chagrin 
he passed their uncompleted forts with a copy of the 
treaty signed by President Fillmore to exchange for one 
signed by “His Majesty” the Shogun himself That 
worthy had hoped in vain to keep out of the business 
personally As to the Mikado, intervention by his In- 
effable Eminence was not dreamed of just then Yet 
Japan’s isolation was ended, though every castle 
buzzed with discussion of means for brushing away the 
barbarians 

Knight Kuruhara was so pleased with his ward that 
he sent him back to take lectures under his intimate 
friend, the distinguished samurai Yoshida Shorn, whose 
school of patriotism in the dark foothills southeast of 
Hagi was the most noted of recent “mushroom” institu- 
tions adopting that name, though the master was but 
twenty-seven The typical school was simply a gather- 
ing of youths about a fiery personality on the floor of 
a plain Japanese room, or a group practicing judo and 
swordplay m a field, shifting often from place to place 
for fear of government suspicion 

Yoshida had been let out of confinement to take 
over a school his xmcles had started, because he had 

[ 115 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


answered a pamphleteer who had dared to advocate 
abolition of the Shogunate But he taught the chron- 
icles that pictured the glory of Dai Nihon (or Great 
Rismg-sun Land) in days when Emperors were supreme, 
and showed in dark colors the long lines of regents 
before the Tokugawa whom it was forbidden to criti- 
cize His philosophy set the worth of men and their 
training strictly in ability and will to link thought with 
action He fired his pupils, scions of both higher and 
lower nobility, with resolve to exalt the Mikado, end 
usurpation, restore the warlike piestige of Japan, and 
make her more than equal to driving off the invaders 
who had put heels on India and China and were now 
reaching the Sacred Isles He could teach not only 
traditional arts, but through his scant lore of Dutch 
and the meager translations extant, he could and did 
impart an idea of Western arms, tactics, and fortifica- 
tions Yoshida had been taught by Sakuma, eminent 
as advocate of foreign learning since 1842 and high 
counselor on coast defense in the inteiim of Perry’s 
visits Yoshida’s pupils knew how he had gone from 
port to port trying to leave the country like an animal 
newly caged, and how he and his great teacher had 
both been imprisoned on occasion of his attempt to 
leave with Perry 

For a few months, about the beginning of 18S8, 
Risuke was privileged to join the students humbly 
kneeling about the elevated mat upon which Yoshida 
sat lecturmg m his little twelve by twenty hall Those 

[116] 



YAMAG\T\ AND ITO 

few months were to be a lifelong influence, acknowl- 
edged long after by a shrine to Yoshida’s memory 
erected by Prince Ito Squatting outside on the grill- 
work veranda among the bodyservants but listening in- 
tently at the slightly slid back sho)t, was a youth a bit 
taller and older than Risuke and of most serious bearing 
It was Kiosuke Yamagata, who was to be Ito’s fellow- 
patriot lifelong rival, and eventually, destroyer 

It developed that young Yamagata, like himself, was 
of the sub-samurai, but even poorer He had become 
personal servant to one of the more aristocratic pupils 
in return for the privilege of listening from the porch 
The young fellow’s first name, Kiosuke — ^‘'mad,” or 
“wild” — attracted Risuke, although it was nothing more 
than an evolution from Kosuke, “small,” suggested in 
turn by his birth name, Tatsunosuke, “snake ” after the 
sign of the zodiac 

In spite of the general good manners of Japanese 
children, both boys came in for abuse from pupils of 
higher rank Ito rephed characteristically with chal- 
lenges to fight, and soon stopped the scoffing so far as 
he was concerned Yamagata m his different way 
quietly promised himself revenge by demonstrating 
superior ability The two became friends and Yoshida’s 
most trusted pupils 

Yamagata’s father, who, like Ito’s, traced ancestry 
back to the Imperial House — ^in this case through Prince 
Mototsune to the fifty-sixth Emperor Seiwa — ^had 
brought him to Matsushima village where the school 

[ 117 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


was Though born within Choshu he had not been so 
fortunate as the Hyashi in finding a patron, and he and 
his son had to eke out the rations for five which were 
his as a wairior by common work At need a samuiai 
might do this without loss of caste Thus the great 
Yoshida and his highborn students could undertake 
to plaster their school building The earnest and ador- 
ing Yamagata, throwing mud to the teacher, inadvert- 
ently struck him full in the face All the master’s 
persuasiveness was required to keep the abashed youth 
from committing suicide 

Whereas Ito from heredity and popularity in youth 
was free with resources, Yamagata learned from in- 
fancy to hoard Saburo Yamagata, although very poor, 
was a learned man, and himself taught his son reading, 
writmg, and Japanese versification, for which he was 
to become as well known as was Ito for the more classi- 
cal Chinese composition A main formative influence 
m Kiosuke’s life was his Spartan grandmother, who took 
charge of him when at the age of five he lost his mother 
From a discouraging start he grew into a vigorous lad 
under her care Stciasm, shyness, and determination 
which could temporarily compromise but always reached 
its aim, were his qualities, as affability and impulsive- 
ness were those of his fellow Risuke 

At fifteen Yamagata was known for accomplishment 
with spear and in judo — commonly called in the West 
ju jitsu A less impulsive fighter, he was a better sol- 
dier than Ito, for he used violence cold-bloodedly, as 

[ 118 ] 



Yai\GAT\ AND ITO 

an instrument to attain a purpose, only victory counted 
Ito, by now big-boned and broad-shouldered, with 
a wide head that reminded one of a hammerhead, and 
who scrapped as recklessly before twenty as Bismarck, 
was to lose the love of battle along with the romantic 
outlook of youth Yamagata, frail, with a long, narrow 
head that reminded one of a spearhead, always person- 
ally mild-mannered, was to become a consistent mili- 
tarist One of the greatest mistakes of our modern car- 
toonists IS in picturing war-lords foaming at the mouth' 

With the smgle-mindedness of youth and the natu- 
ral impulsiveness of his character, Ito devoted himself 
to two great hates of the Tokugawa usurpers and the 
foreign aggressors Meantime his fellow Yamagata was 
pursuing the same ends more deliberately Rushing off 
to swing a sword on the beach at steel battleships sitting 
arrogantly mthe harbor did not appear to him so neces- 
sary as feeling out for unity among opposition clans 
and studymg the secrets of the Western barbarian’s 
strength 

Yet it was to be the ability of these two so different 
minds m abandoning hate, or turning it into somethmg 
else when the time for it had passed, which was to make 
them stand out from the many youths who enlisted in 
the patriotic cause with equal ardor and opportunity 

A third pupil of the school formed, with Ito and 
Yamagata, its trio of distinction He was the imagina- 
tive Takasugi, scion of a more aristocratic family He 
was to do amazing exploits m his twenties, and die 

[ 119 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


Violently at twenty-nine — spoken of, in connection with 
his military alliance with Yamagata, as a “meteor 
hitched to a fixed star ” He now showed a poetic inter- 
est m Ito by suggesting that he change his name from 
Risuke to the more elegant form “Shinsuke ” Ito, 
in his middle twenties, started as a statesman, and 
needing a “career” name, was to appeal again to Taka- 
sugi, and receive a phrase from the saying of Confucius 
anent the two joys of the scholar “To study with dili- 
gent application and greet a friend from afar ” Ito 
“Hirobumi,” “greeter-from-afar,” was to be Count, then 
Marqms, then Prince 

At twenty-two the quiet, diligent Yamagata, nick- 
named “human crane” by his fellows, was to have been 
graduated in sword and spear — a samurai, and no longer 
subject to msult But great events dispersed the little 
community of youth before that time -They began 
when young Ito’s good patron, Kuruhara himself, ar- 
rived back from the “front” a prisoner He had given 
a battalion some Western military drill, and been im- 
mediately attached by “hundred per cent samurai” fel- 
low officers It was as if an American drill master of 
1918 had obliged Yankees to practice the goose step 
To calm the furor, the Choshu Haimyo, Yoshichika 
Mon, who really liked Kuruhara, put him under arrest 
and sent him home He was allowed to visit Yoshida’s 
school and the pupils overheard fervent discussions be- 
tween the two intimates 

Japan, they agreed, was now too feeble and back- 

[ 120 ] 



YAMAGATA AND ITO 

ward (for which they blamed the Tokugawa isolation) 
to conclude treaties on equal footing with Western na- 
tions But the country must never compromise its 
honor by allowing itself to be dealt with as an infenor 
Therefore the policy of isolation must be strictly main- 
tained and efforts at communication repulsed until the 
nation should be brought to a military level with for- 
eign powers Two things would have to be overthrown 
the decadent and stultifying Tokugawa court regime 
and the excessive sentimentahsm of the patriotic clans- 
men who confused foreign ways and weapons with 
truckling to the foreigner These men thus early ana- 
lyzed a situation yet to occur in every Asiatic nation 
Mustapha Kemal has recently and drastically dealt with 
the same difficulty What m their case the Japanese 
pioneers failed to see was that it would be as difficult 
to postpone, intercourse with the besetting white man 
as it would be to deal with him as an equal before 
having demonstrated equal mihtary power 
A move must be made against the Tokugawa before 
they should, in weakness, sell out the nation to bar- 
banans This was possible only by raising the cry, 
“Down with usurpers, reverence to imperial authority,” 
which appealed to all Japanese like the call, “Liberate 
the Pope,” to good Cathohcs Yoshida ascertained that 
nobles of the Imperial Court at Kyoto would favor the 
movement and permit use — ^within limits of discretion 
— of the Sacred Person’s name That millennium-old 
but long-isolated court was composed of human units 

[ 121 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


whose pride still chafed at being superseded in actual 
power by the staff of the “Barbarian Quelling General” 
(or Shogun) m Yedo They might well suspect that 
some of the “reform” leaders had ulterior ends and 
would like merely to take the Tokugawa’s place — ^but 
they saw ground for hope in the smceiity of such as 
Yoshida 

Yoshida did not confine himself to pedagogy On 
timid assent of the clan council stipulating repudiation 
if discovered, he sent six students to Kyoto to do what 
older samurai had not the stomach to attempt For the 
Tokugawa Shogunate maintained one of the most 
elaborate espionage systems known to history — ^two 
hundred years old, working as silently and ruthlessly as 
drouth Besides unknown agents of all kinds, each ten 
families had a chief, compelled to send in minute re- 
ports As on the Chinese principle of responsibility the 
whole gioup suffered with an offending individual, so 
each had an interest in watching the lest 

This was, besides, a time of special disquiet Long 
historical research, patronized by lords of Mito, a col- 
lateral branch of the Tokugawa, had fostered a school 
that taught the supremacy of the Emperor This group 
had conspired to have the Emperor nominate the suc- 
cessor to the now vacant Shogunate from among the 
scions of the Tokugawa clan, suggesting one Keiki, of 
the House of Mito Such revival of Imperial initiative 
had been forestalled by quick action of the great Lord 
Regent Ii Naosuke nominating the child lemochi Four 

[ 122 ] 



y^MAG^TA AND ITO 

great daimyos had been confined to quarters m Yedo 
for intriguing to get the Emperor Komei to decree an- 
nulment of treaties that Yedo had felt forced to make, 
and Lord Manabe had been sent to Yedo to stop the 
movement 

Led by Takasugi, Ito, and Yamagata, the sixteen 
to mneteen-year-old pupils of Yoshida \isited Imperial 
House officers and Kyoto representatives of the far- 
flung clans, under eyes of Shogun agents, sounding the 
possibility of a nation-wide restoration movement The 
emissaries returned safely, bringing the rumor that 
northern adherents of the “Oust-Foreigners” party had 
plotted the death of the Lord Regent, at Yedo Con- 
cerned lest he should be behind in zeal for the Emperor, 
Yoshida impetuously went to Kyoto to organize assassi- 
nation of Yedo agents there The chief victim was 
to have been Manabe, the “Controller” who was keen 
on the trail of all “Oust-Foreigners” men, to send them 
to torture and death, and used all means in favor of 
the Yedo treaty policy But Yoshida’s plans miscar- 
ried Clan authorities had to confine him in Choshu 
and finally to hand him over to the Shogun’s agents — 
for they were not yet disposed to rebel 

That spring, with the just-freed Kuruhara, Ito had 
been sent down to Nagasaki on the southern island to 
learn what they might of Western military methods in 
that open port, a Tokugawa outpost in Hizen dan ter- 
ritoiy where as of old the Dutch, and now British, 
French, and Russians, were making themselves at home 

[ 123 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


When he returned and learned Yoshida’s fate, Ito gath- 
ered fellows of the school about him and sealed with 
blood an oath to rescue their master or exact adequate 
revenge The helpful Kuruhara commended the young 
swashbuckler to his brother-in-law and active fellow 
clansman, Kido, who was about to take charge of the 
dan’s school in Yedo But at Yoshida’s Yedo prison, 
which was the goal of Ito’s pilgrimage, Kido and Ito 
were turned away, and one autumn day (1859) the 
jailer called them to behold the teacher’s beheaded 
body in the prison yard He was martyr to his cause 
at twenty-nine A space for malefactors in Yekoen 
temple grounds is now famous because there, weeping 
with rage, his young disciples buried him 
“Better die by mistake than live by mistake” had 
been his teaching Schemmg lords might covet the 
Shogun’s place or detest his monopoly of the profitable 
foreign trade They were inferior in spirit to young 
idealists whose slogans they adopted The Confucian 
epigram “Better a crystal, broken, than roof-tile, in- 
tact” — farewell shout to Yoshida by a fellow sufferer 
— expressed the exultation in their mission that inspired 
his pupils 

Passion for revenge plunged Ito into a period of 
bloody adventuring Outwardly he carried on as as- 
sistant schoolmaster to Kudo, studying also, diligently, 
under that accomplished scholar Political frays and 
assassinations were an almost weekly occurrence these 
years, and Ito lent a ready hand, though he was seri- 

[124] 



YAM4GATA AND ITO 


oxisly neglecting martial training Kido’s influence told 
from the start Ito was to become chief advocate of 
that “philosopher-samurai’s” unfulfilled policy of “prog- 
ress by peace ” At Kido’s institution, in the great 
residency which Choshu like the other clans was obliged 
to maintain in the Shogun’s capital, the young man was 
meeting all the personalities whose names were to go 
down as fathers of the new nation They were anything 
but dignified “fathers ” They varied from Alexander 
Hamiltons to Kit Carsons and Jesse Jameses Many 
of them were ronin — Vave men” — free lance samurai, 
made by fate some cutthroats, some heroes, some both 

The bitterness of “patriots” increased as the em- 
bassies of Great Britain, Russia, France, and Holland, 
which had followed America in rapid succession in 
exacting treaties of diplomatic intercourse, arrived to 
establish themselves in exclusive Yedo The lust for 
assassination did not spare foreigners and their retinues, 
and for a time, forgomg right of residence in the capi- 
tal, they retired to Yokohama Their presence and the 
contmumg negotiations were constant irritation to the 
radicals The Mito group, Spartacus fashion, planned 
to fortify itself in volcanic Mount Tsukuba back of 
Yedo, along with a Prmce of the Blood, and issue a 
rallying call to the nation from there Ito jomed and 
escaped arrest merely because the Book of the Junta 
discovered by the pohce was on old copy made before 
he had signed on 

Lord Ii’s head fell to partizans of Mito in 1860, 

[125] 



EMINENT ASIWS 


but a court council took up his work and a Lord Ando 
m charge of foreign affairs continued his policies The 
proposal to obtain the Emperor’s sister as a wife for the 
youthful Shogun was actively pressed That would 
strengthen the Tokugawa at home And the innovating 
tendency was stressed by the purchase of a steamer 
and the sending of it on the first voyage of modern 
Japan across the ocean — ^which proved a somewhat 
lugubrious beginning of one of the world’s greatest 
merchant marines 

Between plots, Ito, in the spirit of his time, was en- 
gaged m convivial affairs in which he made a name 
for debonairly carrymg lespect-commandmg quantities 
of sak6 Also, he and his friend Inouye managed to 
get a slight start toward the knowledge of English 
which was to serve him so well 

Meanwhile Yamagata was sent south over the Inland 
Sea to Kiushu island, to seek liaison with the Lord of 
Satsuma, master of its southern region, most haughty 
and independent of Japan’s feudal barons Satsuma 
did not leap at Yamagata’s proposal of alliance with 
Its old rival across the strait, but he discovered that 
Satsuma was arming and drilling largely with the new 
modem arms and preparmg a large contingent to go 
to Kyoto and assume paramount influence there in 
bnnging Yedo to terms His report aroused the Choshu 
patriots They felt that if any clan deserved a lion’s 
share m the campaign of supportmg the Emperor and 
expelling foreigners, it was Choshu Kido and Ito were 

[ 126 ] 



YAM^GAT^ AND ITO 

ordered down to Kyoto to look after the Choshu interest 
at court and Yamagata was hurried this tune north to 
Yedo to get the Lord of Yedo to authorize drastic 
action, lest Satsuma take the honor and the spoils The 
Lord of Choshu was at the Shogun’s capital in fulfill- 
ment of the obligation of every daimyo to spend half 
the time with his family, held as hostages in the clan 
residency at that place Yamagata found his lord luke- 
warm, desirous of playing safe Kido and Ito reaching 
Kyoto discovered that a high councilor of their clan 
was playing into the hands of the enemy by favoring 
the marriage alliance between the Imperial and Sho- 
gunate families This nobleman, Nagai Uda, sincerely 
believed compromise to be the fairest remedy for ani- 
mosity between the houses, and was unquestionably 
encouraged by the timid Lord of Choshu But he drew 
upon himseif the abhorrence of young patriots who 
chose to regard him a traitor to imperial interests 

Ito characteristically got up a party to assassinate 
hun, but they were beaten off by the warned Nagai at 
the Fushimi gate of Kyoto Here Yamagata stepped 
in, with action as different as it was equally charac- 
teristic 

Purifying himself with ceremonial washings, putting 
on the white kimono of the dead, and carrying only 
the short sword used for self-destruction, he went to 
Nagai’s quarters and obtained audience 

“I challenge you on the honor of the samurai, either 
to abandon your scheme or commit hamktn here with 

[ 127 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


me now,” he quietly addressed the astonished knight, 
with a deep bow The two men regarded one another 
with masklike faces for some moments 

“You may live,” capitulated Nagai, lifting his cup 
of tea in sign of dismissal to the younger samurai The 
affair had a pathetic aftermath — a miniature of the 
tragedy out of which grew the new Japan Ito’s patron, 
the beloved Kuruhara, who happened to be a nephew 
of Nagai, torn between family commitment and loyalty 
to the cause of his young friends and protegfe, satisfied 
honor by the ceremonial suicide Ito, for a second time, 
performed the last courtesies for a beloved dead master, 
cutting the warrior’s knot from Kuiuhara’s head and 
carrying it to the beieft family Feeling in the clan re- 
acted so strongly upon Nagai that he was imprisoned — 
with the consent of the opportunistic Lord who had used 
him — and a little later, when the patriotie party was 
supreme, he was “permitted” to commit haraktn 
Meanwhile plans went forward among one group for 
the marriage of the Shogun and among the other for 
the assassination of Ando Choshu patriots were con- 
nected with the latter project through Kido and Ito, 
agam in Yedo Five Mito samurai m the ronm band 
that attacked Ando’s cortege at the citadel gate were 
killed after only wounding him A sixth had missed the 
party and came to Ito’s school declaring that honor 
reqmred him to die Kido and Ito persuaded agamst 
it He asked them to leave a moment while he wrote 
a letter, and when they returned, he had cut out his 

[ 128 ] 



YAMAGATA AND ITO 

bowels, leaving them with a tell-tale corpse on their 
hands while official agents swarmed through the town 
Ito ended a fruitless powwow by going to the door and 
boldly calling in the police Nothing worse happened 
than that Choshu authorities were ordered to hold Eado 
and Ito under surveillance for a time 
Ando retired from public life, but to the chagrin 
of the radicals, the wedding was pompously celebrated 
that year That year also came Lord Regent Shimadzu 
of Satsuma to Kyoto with a strong force, and with his 
support the initiative passed to the imperial court He 
escorted a princely messenger to Yedo with “recom- 
mendations” that included installation of Keiki as 
Guardian at Yedo, and a visit of the Shogun himself 
to Kyoto These measures, the latter a consideration 
for the Emperor imprecedented in two hundred years 
of Tokugawa rule, the court at Yedo was humbly fam 
to concede Satsuma’s projects were, however, too 
plainly aimed at harmony between the two courts to 
satisfy the continually augmenting host of free-lance 
ronin m their fanatical anti-foreigmsm and Imperial 
devotion Ando and all his coadjutors were being dis- 
graced, many assassinated, and those who had favored 
Keiki’s nomination before were set at liberty But 
when, in response to an imperial invitation that Kido 
had procured for him, the Lord of Choshu came down 
to Kyoto, he found himself in the hands of the pro- 
imperial party of his clan and the ultra-patnotic party 
rallied around him, rather than Satsuma 

[ 129 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


Under Satsuma’s pressuie the Shogun’s court made 
a fatal concession, abrogating in October, 1862, the old 
rule whereby the daimyos’ families had always been 
kept at Yedo The aristocracy, major and minor, began 
at once in great numbers to establish themselves at 
Kyoto, the Lord of Tosa among the first So it came 
about that guiding spirits like Kido, Ito, Goto, Yama- 
gata, and Saigo the younger (his older brother was 
now in exile for excess of zeal) were able to begin weav- 
ing the ties of the Sat-Cho-To, the union of the south- 
ernmost clans of each of the three main islands, which 
was to overthrow the old regime Tosa was to be the 
mediator between the other two, naturally rivals And 
fate decreed leadership to Ito in choosing the cause 
for Choshu which history was to vindicate 
Ito and Takasugi posted the ten days’ journey to 
Yedo to bring home the body of Yoshida, whose crime 
and disgrace were now canceled They buried it m 
Choshu, and Ito reported back to Kyoto, to be dis- 
patched at once to investigate a rumor that the Hikone 
clan planned a coup to seize the Sacred Person and 
proclaim direct imperial rule A tactful diplomat the 
young samurai proved (for in reward of patriotic zeal 
both he and Yamagata had just been promoted to full 
knighthood, authorizing use of surnames) He dis- 
suaded Hikone from the rash project and lined up the 
clan with the general Restoration movement 
Returning to the clan house at Yedo, he joined some 
fellows m putting out of the way a confidant who was 

[130] 



Y\iIAGAT\ AND ITO 


believed to be a government spy His next exploit was 
participation m the murder of Jiro Hanawa, a learned 
scholar of the day, whose historical studies were giving 
comfort to the Tokugawa, and, most disgusting to 
patriots, supporting lese niajeste by throwing doubt on 
the continuity of the imperial line Speaking of this 
exploit long after Ito said, ‘It was rather a miracle that 
I survived I was quite in danger, for the clothes were 
blood spotted in which I had to pass government de- 
tective'i Had they noticed, I would have been ques- 
tioned and condemned ” “To do great deeds one must 
often be ready to risk his life,” he was to counsel his 
son, shortly before finally gomg to death 

In spite of the imperial pressure to expel foreigners, 
the government was rapidly completing their legation 
quarters in Yedo By the way of protest at the “im- 
piety,” Ito,«Takasugi, and Inouye,^ fellow clansmen all 
and pupils of Yoshida, organized an arson gang and 
burned down the British buildings The Amencan, 
Legation met the same fate shortly, when Ito had gone. 

The Britisher, Richardson, had fallen to Satsuma 
swords because he did not crmge at the roadside as 
their cohorts passed — ^which was to cost bankrupt Yedo 
and proud Satsuma very dear — ^but the final settlement 
was still future Altogether the ronin chauvinists had 

ilnotiye was to hold almost as manv offices of government as Ito and 
Yamagata, but usuaHy as a faithful henchman of Ito rather than an mde~ 
pcrden^ mind He ^tar^ed as “Inouye,” became ‘ Shido ” and just before 
lore CT1 ad\en*-urt with Ito was again adopted back into his own family 
Their fnendship was sealed long after by Ito adopting Inouye^s son as heir 
in place of his own 


[ 131 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


made Yedo of early 1863 intolerable to foreigners and 
they were retiring to Yokohama Kido nest entrusted 
Ito with getting the most radical “patriotic” clansmen 
of Mito out of Tokugawa territory to Kyoto, anticipat- 
ing a possible appeal to arms The time was drawing 
near when the Shogun must fulfill his commitment to 
confer with the Emperor, and his officers were estab- 
lishing themselves in Kyoto At last, accompanied by 
3,000 instead of the 300,000 retainers which a former 
Shogun had led to Kyoto, seventeen-year-old lemochi 
bowed before “the dragon face” April 21, 1863 He 
would have answered the “call of urgent affairs” and 
returned to his capital at once, but nothing would do 
at the Kyoto court but that a date should first be set 
for “purging barbarians from the Sacred Isles ” He 
tned to leave with the issue pending but threat of 
assassination by Ito’s patriotic gangfellows deterred 
him The Emperor set the date as June 25, 1863 
In vain lemochi’s chief officers went back to start ar- 
rangements, in vain he himself sought excuses to leave 
until just before that date — ^when an army and navy 
expedition from Yedo was on its way to brmg him 
back by force 

Meanwhile Yamagata, “the Crane,” was efficiently 
carrying out missions, though he lacked the sensational 
touches his younger friend Ito seemed so capable of 
supplying His charge had to do with fortification of 
the coast of Choshu, at Shimonoseki strait especially, 
agamst the fateful 2Sth of June Coming and going 

[132] 



YAMAG\T^ AND ITO 

he had passed the door of the higher-bred, gay-kimonoed 
Tomoko, made her acquaintance despite the semi- 
seclusion of Japanese young ladies, and developed a 
very determmed lov e affair Through the usual middle- 
man he asked her hand Her faimly objected because 
of his low rank, his “mad” name, Kiosuke, and the 
disconcerting “gang” he ran around with He told 
them theie was no hurry but he would be back to get 
her, and w'ent about his missions 

Yedo authority had long prohibited all subjects from 
going abroad — but of late had secretly sent its own 
men to learn the strength of the West The patriots 
felt they must gam as much knowledge as their rivals 
The necessity was most obvious when, having bought 
a steamer from Jardine, Matheson & Company in 1862, 
the Choshu clan had to hire “barbanans” to engineer 
and navigate 

Inouye got secret permission from the clan council 
for a group to go abroad, with the usual reservation 
that if caught, the clan would have to repudiate it 
Ito, sent from Kyoto to Yedo m the spring of ’63 with 
an order on the clan strong-box there for ten thousand 
gold pieces, illicitly to buy arms from the newly estab- 
lished British firms at Yokohama, met Inouye bound 
for Europe and was promptly enlisted in the party 
The other lads were Yamao, afterward Viscount Endo, 
and Nomura 

They went to an official of the British Legation for 
suggestions Their conferences were suspended a while 

[ 133] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


— spending a plot to attack this very legation again 
It came to nothing and they went back to the unsuspect- 
ing Weigal who referred them to his brother, in Jardme, 
Matheson & Company employ at Yokohama He ad- 
vised that a round trip to London and a year’s stay 
would require a thousand gold pieces each They had 
from the clan treasury six hundred, for the four’ 

The impulsive Ito met strong temptation to abscond 
with the ten thousand in his charge After all, he was 
going for the good of the dan, and the information he 
and his fellow yoimg samurai would gam would be of 
immensely more value than a few guns Perhaps fear 
of clan discipline rather than conscience kept him from 
yielding to the pressure of his eager fellows But he 
worked out a good and characteristic compromise He 
gave the ordei for munitions to a Yokohama merchant 
and then, with tacit aid of a sympathetic _,elder at the 
clan house, “held him up” for a five thousand ryo loan 
It was remitted direct to the Jardme-Matheson agent 
who put it m the form of an eight-thousand-dollar draft 
payable in London — ^leaving the party pretty short of 
ready cash Their long swords had been left at a 
fellow clansman’s tea house, where they donned a 
ridiculously fitted outfit of foreign garb — sailor togs 
obtained m Yokohama secondhand stores — and repaired 
m the dusk to the merchant’s home where the captain 
was eating dinner While awaiting his pleasure they 
got their samurai topknots cut off, and felt their bridges 
burned But at first the captain sent word he would 

[ 134 ] 



Y\'M\G\T\ AND ITO 

not rim the risk of gettmg afoul of the customs officials 
by taking them They firmly told the merchant that 
the alternative for them would be harahin on the spot, 
as they could not escape capture now Not liking to 
fancy his parlor used for that purpose he remonstrated 
with the captain to such effect that the old salt changed 
his mmd Then the runaways composed a lengthy 
letter to the clan authority, explaining their ideals, 
preparations, plans, and assuring their loyaltj- and grati- 
tude In the dark small hours of May 12, 1863, jab- 
bering something which customs sentnes on post were 
expected to take for a foreign language, the five fol- 
lowed the captain aboard a dirty steamer and hid while 
it got under way for Shanghai 
Their letter must have had scant attention among 
other matters claiming attention from the clan council 
The Shogun was still at Kyoto, and hottest argument 
and darkest diplomacy were resorted to in the struggle 
between supporters and foes of the Tokugawa — to ad- 
vantage largely of the foes, led by Choshu The Lord 
Regent of Satsuma would have strengthened the other 
side more had he not felt obliged to keep his forces at 
home to meet impendmg British vengeance for the 
death of Richardson Secret anti-foreign fulmmations 
from extremists pretending to speak for the Emperor 
supplemented the proclamation through the regular 
channel of the Shogun after an audience on June S, 
which set the 2Sth as date for sweeping away the bar- 
banans Transmitting this to foreigners in his territory 

[135] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


the Shogun’s officials had added that no action would 
be taken on it But in Choshu, Takasugi and Yama- 
gata had bent intense effort toward “up-to-date” fortifi- 
cation of the straitSj following their meager Dutch 
authorities Not only had batteries been placed along 
their own shore, but judging the Kokura clan teiritory 
on the other side to be inadequately guarded they at- 
tacked and seized a point for fortification there Had 
there been a telegraph to carry recent news to Yoko- 
hama, Ito and his young bloods would have rushed to 
join the scrimmage and would have been diverted from 
the experience that was to prepare them to be saviors 
of their clan and nation ® 

The lads were “getting broken” to the outside world 
in a manner to satisfy the sturdiest believer in rough 
discipline They stayed hid m the coal bunkers until 
beyond Japanese territorial waters Thep came the 
nasty Yellow Seas and mal de mer — endured for a week 
till their vessel reached the Yangtze and crept up to 
fetid Shanghai, just growing out of tide-flats to be 
Pacific Asia’s new trading capital Their Yokohama 
fnend had a brother in the same employ at Shanghai 
who, instructed by a letter brought by the captain, fer- 
reted them out and demanded in his blunt British way 
what sort of experience they were hunting Inouye, 

^VanoHS Japanese historians and bioEri*aDliers have firm" on the 
U S merchantman Pembroke taking piace on Ma\ 10 uhili I he bn\'» 
were waiting to steal out of Yokoham-i n piobibiL l 1 at th >r reckon 
ing is in old Chinese calendar which woild onng nabs a monbi ’=»nd 
some days earher than the modern calendar 

E136] 



YAM4GATA AXD ITO 

the proud Japanesej drew from his slight English the 
one word ^ navigation He understood that meant 
^ navy/^ which it was his chief intention to learn about 
abroad ^^Keswick nodded to himself and put Inouye 
and me aboard a schooner, understanding we -wanted to 
become sailors recoided Ito in his journal 

We may suspect the merchant Keswick was indulging 
m a heavy and possibly remunerative practical joke in 
signing those two young knights as common sailors 
Their three companions he placed aboard a larger and 
faster sailing vessel as passengers Ito’s naive narrative 
runs thus 

Supposing we were guests, we were surprised at being com- 
manded to "^ork very hard as the sailois, handling sails and 
rigging We were fed salt beef and biscuits and had to drmk 
from a discarded tm We appealed to the honorable captain, 
bowing low, »but he would face us fiercely and say ‘ Well, 
what’s the matter^ You 11 have to talk to me in English 
Neither of us knew a word, and when we tried to speak to him 
m signs he would turn his back, until the quarter-master drove 
us again to work The other sailors, who were dirtier than 
any men we had ever seen, used to treat us ill and call us 
Janey/’ which we understood was then manner of speaking 
contemptuously of our people They never took a bath^ 
There was no privy for sailors but a plank projecting from 
the edge of the deck We did not understand and were beaten 
for starting to use the officers’ I had bowel trouble and 
was obliged to sit on the plank quite often Inouye, anxious 
lest I grow too weak to hold onto the railing, especially during 
the tossing of storms, used to tie my body with a rope, fasten- 
ing the other end to a little post so I would not fall into the 
sea The sailors would shout wickedly and make bb if to cut 

[ 137 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 

the rope, and were pleased when Inouye would fight them 
off like mad 

These young noblemen of the most scrupulously 
cleanly and courteous nation on earth were subjected 
to four months and ten days of this before their ship, 
sailing around Africa with never a port of call, nosed 
finally into the Thames They hailed sight of the land 
of their imagination as the end of contumely, hardship, 
and homesickness, and were willing to write off the 
experience as a valuable lesson in the school of life 
Still they had to suffer a climactic indignity The ship 
docked before breakfast, and all hands scattered, except 
the two Japanese, left to sit on deck, without food, 
and all hatches locked They were left entirely in sus- 
pense until at mid-afternoon a clerk from Jardine & 
Matheson came with a cab and escorted^ them to a 
hotel on American Square where they found the three 
comrades so abruptly separated from them in Shanghai 
That such an introduction to the white man’s world 
did not utterly embitter these young men, but that they 
soon became the sincerest friends of Westerners and 
champions of their civilization, and were able in after 
life to relate their humiliation with the greatest good 
humor, is testimony to the sportsmanship, as well as 
comprehension, of the Japanese nature 
Five Japanese boys in the strange world of London, 
forerunning the appearance not only of a new nation 
but a new contment m world affairs — one to become a 

[ 138 ] 



Y\M\GAT\ AND ITO 

prince and the formulator of his country’s relationships 
with the w'orld, two others to become marquises — are 
disdainfully led to a tailor shop, a barber shop, and a 
bathing house, and when their new clothing arrives, see 
a British “slavey” contemptuously pick up their 
discarded “heathen clothes” — filthy enough indeed — ^be- 
tween thumb and a forefinger and stuff them into the 
grate 

They called upon Mr Matheson, the stolid Scotch 
misbionary turned founder of a trading company which 
was to become one of the greatest agents of British 
empire in Asia He refeired them to a Dr Williamson, 
university professor, who took Ito, Nomura, and Endo 
into his own home and found places for the others 
According to their words, they “studied English very 
hard ” Occasionally university students introduced to 
them by Dr, Williamson took them about the city Of 
all its sights the military drills on the parade grounds 
most fascinated them Witnessing modem tactics and 
equipment, they all, but especially Ito, the swash- 
buckler, experienced a profound change of heart re- 
garding “immediate expulsion of the barbanan from 
the Sacred Land ” 

Shortly after they landed, reports had reached Eng- 
land by mail and cable from Ceylon of the use to which 
Yamagata and his colleagues were putting the new bat- 
tenes On the appointed 2Sth of June (1863) the 
Choshu “navy” had fired on the American merchant- 
man Pembroke, which slipped its moonngs and got 

[ 139] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


away with slight injury ® Then a little later the Dutch 
Medusa had fought through the straits with loss of life 
and serious damage Other vessels shortly suffered, 
and there followed reports of vengeance taken by the 
American warship Wyormng, and by the French 

This had not, however, opened the straits The 
astounding progress of the boys in English was prac- 
tically demonstrated when at the end of four months 
they were able to discover from the stilted English of 
The Times’ dispatches pointed out to them by Dr 
Williamson the exceedingly serious situation which con- 
fronted their clan It was the first news they had 
received from Japan and it was to the effect that 
Satsuma’s capital, Kagoshima, had been bombarded off 
the map by British gunboats, and negotiations were 
going on between Great Britain, Araenca, France, and 
Holland for a united reprisal upon Choshu, failing its 
drastic punishment by the Yedo government 
Ito and Inouye conceived it their duty to return home 
forthwith and convince their lord and his counalors 
of the necessity of making friends with foreigners before 
the clan should bring annihilation upon itself They 
courteously explained their purpose to Dr Williamson 
and Mr Matheson, but these men were unable to com- 

3 A wnter in the “Bntannicd’^ st>s that the Pembroke was not hit 
The Japanese official history states that the Pembroke was taken unaware 
hy sudden firing from two Choshu warcraff the KosJnn Maru and the 
Ktgat Maru, and spontaneously from in ''r ^ she "was obhged to 

escape m such a flurry that she did not have time to weigh anchor but 
left it breaking the chain Choshu discharged twelve shots m all, three 
out of which hit the ship, and one tore the ngging off tiie mast” 

[ 140 ] 



YAMAGATA AND ITO 

prehend their motive The trading company head com- 
mented grufSy that boys of their age should not bother 
their heads about political affairs’ The pair quietly 
insisted and finally Matheson, remarking, “It’s a thm 
excuse to get away from studies,” got them passage 
on a primitive steamer They found themselves again 
stowed in the forecastle, but this time rebelled and 
transferred to a clipper which after a three months’ sail 
with incidental desperate peril off Madagascar, put them 
off at Yokohama on the 10th of June, 1864 

The other three had wished to return also, but had 
been dissuaded by Ito and Inouye However, the five 
had sworn in blood that if Ito and Inouye were killed 
by resentful clansmen, the others would follow and 
take up the cause 

The two yoimg samurai had endured eight months 
of hardship in tiavel to get but five months of study, 
they had gone away militant anti-foreignists and now 
came back advocates of international intercourse and 
westernization In them was presage and personifica- 
tion of the energy and adaptiveness of the Japanese 
mind that was to save Japan and amaze the modern 
world They entered a situation most unfavoiable to 
their propaganda To have questioned their country- 
men might have brought summary death, so they went 
direct to their friend Weigal, who greeted them withi 
the information that they were now under double dis- 
ability, as illicit foreign travelers and as members of 
a clan recently declared outlaw by both Shogim and Em- 

[141] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


peror' The previous autumn all Choshu men had been 
expelled from the guard in Kyoto for fear they were 
planning to take the Mikado mto their own custody 
Since then their Shimonoseki batteries had sunk with- 
out distinction a steamer belonging to the Shogun and 
another to Satsuma with much loss of life Their fortifi- 
cations were stronger than ever, and the contumacious 
clansmen had avowed that no foreign-built ship should 
pass The Shogun had just come back from Kyoto 
with a decree giving him a free hand to punish both 
the rebels and the seven court nobles who, being in- 
volved in the alleged plot, had gone south m their 
protection And if the ability of the Shogun to punish 
were in doubt, the result of Choshu was not, because 
the British representative. Sir Rutherford Alcock, was 
head of the accord among the Powers which promised 
effective action in any case , 

While fearfully awaiting an opening to be of service, 
the returned exiles had to bear the effect of racial ar- 
rogance — from the reverse side — for disguised as Portu- 
guese they put up at a hotel for foreign seamen, where 
Ito was called “Deponar ” The two young samurai, 
licensed to slash at any commoner who might obstruct 
their way, had to listen while hotel boys made speeches 
to them for one another’s benefit in supposedly non- 
understood Japanese “You look like real Japanese and 
intelligent people, but, poor fish, you are nothing but 
the lowest kind of barbarians'” They asked by signs 
for a mosquito net to protect them from the onslaught 

[ 142 ] 



Y\MAGATA AND ITO 


ot the tiny vicious Japanese man-eaters, and heard 
“A mosquito net for dogs of red-heads' [ — the com- 
prehensive term for whites ] Rather extravagant of 
them, eh? Give them one with a hole in it ” 

The tVrCnty-day ultimatum of June 30 on opening 
the straits was about to expire, when Ito and Inouye, 
with authority from neither side but the divine pre- 
sumption of 3rOUth, plunged in to mediate They prom- 
ised the Legation official that they would be able to 
procure reparation and a change of policy from the 
Lord of Choshu if he could hold back the attack until 
they could get to him Weigal took them to Ernest 
Satow, gifted young student-interpreter of the Lega- 
tion Ito’s eager, desperate bluff touched him From 
that moment Ito and the West’s fiist sympathetic, pro- 
found student of Japan were fiiends — which was to 
mean much fpr the new nation in its moment of travail 
Sir Rutherford Alcock -was persuaded to see them, 
and they left their lodgings for the Legation in the 
night to avoid the Shogun’s spies The British dig- 
nitary, already “sick to death of Oiiental trickery, 
futility, and dissimulation,” and convinced that “one 
gunboat is worth ten treaties/’ as he had written his 
Foreign Office, received them cynically “So you wish 
to hold up the naval action of four Powers while you 
go to persuade your lord, who has refused to listen to 
us and to his own government, to repent' And what 
will you do if he is unimpiessed?” 

Ito looked him in the eye “Your Excellency, our 

[143] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


lord has not had the right conception of your nation, 
and it IS not entirely his fault We believe he will 
listen to us If he does not, we will ask to be placed 
m the front rank of our lord’s army, to fight you until 
we are killed ” 

The Minister stroked his mustache “Hmi Spirited' 
— ^How long will it take you to get to Choshu?” 

“We must go the far inland route through the moun- 
tains to avoid capture by Tokugawa spies We ask 
you to hold up the attack thiity days ” 

“Too long,” grunted Sir Rutherford “We’ll send 
you around in a warship ” 

There accompanied the suddenly bloomed young 
diplomats their new friend, the interpreter Satow, a 
French naval officer and a Dutch, and they bore a 
letter in Japanese direct from Sir Rutherford to the 
Loid of Choshu 

The hostile attitude of your lordship is intolerable Firing 
on the flags of treaty countries is altogether against inter- 
national law, and compels the allied Powers to deal with your 
lordship as an enemy If your lordship upon more accurate 
information regarding the wealth, power and policies of the 
Powers should open his ports for trade he will bring good out 
of e-vil We learn your lordship has sent several capable and 
promising young subjects abroad to study foreign civilization 
and two of them have returned In compliance with their 
wishes to reach Choshu in shortest possible time, we have 
given them transport on one of Her Majesty’s warships Let 
this be proof that Her Majesty the Queen of England has no 
mimical feelings against your lordship and only desires peace- 
ful relations Through these two men who have been m 

[ 144 ] 



YAMAGATA AND ITO 

England and are your lordship’s most faithful subjects, we 
warn your lordship before disaster comes through ignorance 
and misinformation 

The letter was hardly a help to Ito and Inouye, leav- 
ing as it did large opportunity for the accusation from 
rivals and conservatives whose suspicions they had al- 
ready incurred by visiting Europe, that they had been 
bought or sentimentally influenced by the barbarians 
The fact that the naval officials, true to tradition m 
making use of everything that came their way, took 
advantage to reconnoiter along the way in the straits, 
increased their danger and diminished the chance of 
success 

Ito persuaded the captain at least not to compromise 
them by landing them direct on Choshu soil, so they 
were put off on an island near the opposite shore They 
were to meet- the ship in twelve days at another island 
with satisfactory apologies and pledges from their lord 
— failing which the Allied fleet would come into action 

The two negotiators disembarked m foreign clothes, 
but the islanders mistrusted they were foreigners and 
they had to return to the ship and search out some 
nondescnpt kimonos and try again By dint of high 
argument they got a dubious fishing-sampan master to 
take them again, and the sun was still young when their 
friends on the war vessel saw their open boat heading 
northward Chances were six or seven in ten, remarked 
Satow’s Japanese tutor, that their heads would fall 
The beach was being patrolled by a mob in high ex- 

[ 145 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


citement, for the foreign ships had been reported But 
they managed to reach the local magistrate They saw 
even children and women armed; the latter in special 
dress and carrying formidable bamboo lances to attack 
barbarians They won the magistrate after some diffi- 
culty and got from him samurai skirts and swords for 
their journey They hoped if any one noted the ab- 
scence of then warrior topknots, to be taken for phy- 
sicians, but got through without being stopped, and 
found their lord had come inland to the stronghold of 
Yamaguchi Also they found that a large expedition 
of his army had left or was about to leave under leader- 
ship of the clan councilors to “remonstrate” with the 
forces in control at Kyoto, since “tearful prayers” had 
not availed to get Choshu back into favor Nothing 
IS said of their meeting Yamagata at this time, and 
doubtless he was at “the front ” 

They announced their return to their lord, placed 
themselves under his protection, and asked for an au- 
dience to report “conditions m the barbarian countries 
with which we are in conflict ” Their appearance was 
a sensation All the leading samurai who could come 
were there the appointed day, about the last of July, 
1864, when these two youths from their few months’ 
expenence gave first a lecture on geography illustrated 
with a gourd globe and a pen-drawn map, then a talk 
on Western contemporary culture, and a third on inter- 
national relations and law, and a fourth on the con- 
temporary crisis in Japan, with an impassioned perora- 

[ 146 ] 



YAMAG^TA AND ITO 


tion recommending friendly relations -^vith the West 
and concentration of energy on the restoration of the 
Imperial House to direct rule over a united nation It 
was the true founding speech of new Japan — an ex- 
pression of the spirit of Yoshida Shorn, enlightened 
with a cosmopolitanism that his straitened horizon de- 
nied him opportunity to acquire 

The lord ivas impressed He summoned them back 
several times True to form he vacillated between 
their wisdom and the foolishness of his “wise men ” 
The boys were right, he confessed, but the clansmen 
were too aroused against the foreigner by now to be 
restrained The truth was, he was more willmg to 
have his subjects of Bakan blown to pieces than to nsk 
deposition by his conservative retainers It was a 
nmsance having these young men around to stir his 
qualms Their lives were under constant threat and 
he did not want to be bothered with responsibility for 
protecting them So he sent word commending them 
for loyalty in coimng all the way from the barbarian’s 
land to report, and offering to send them immediately 
back to continue their investigations Their reply 
deserves a place in the heroology of the new nation 

Our forefathers have been subjects of the Mon daimyo for 
generations Samurai do not take into account their lives 
We comprehend that the decision of his lordship and his coun- 
cillors IS to fight the foreigners even at a cost of destruction 
of the clan This is greater bravery than we had compre- 
hended and we can only humbly beg for a share in it We 

[ 147 ] 



EMINENT ASL\NS 


can hardly study while our clan perishes When we con- 
sidered returning home, we expected to be threatened with 
mobbing or assassination If killing us will free the spirits 
of our clansmen, then do away with us If, however, his lord- 
ship sees reason in our suggestion for saving the clan, we 
suggest he dismiss those officials who oppose it 

Their bravery was put to the test A bully named 
Nakaoka called at the house where they stopped and 
asked for the two “vile foreigners ” Their host said 
only Japanese were in the house “Ito and Inouye — 
they are no Japanese t” he exclaimed, and pushed up 
the stairs, finding them quietly squatting on the mats 
drinking rice-wine with some friends 

“Do you fellows know what ‘Yamato damashtt’ * is-*” 
he demanded 

Inouye’s tendency to sarcasm overcame him, even in 
face of this insane rage Punning the words, he re- 

r 

plied, “Yamato damashit — a fruit, I believe — or is it 
a vegetable?” 

“Know nothing of it, eh? Here it is — can you see?” 
and the bully, red-eyed, thrust a dagger in Inouye’s 
face 

“Ha, ha' that’s your Yamato damashtt'^” was the 
cool reply “I have a bigger one,” pulling out his sword 
“Let’s compare them outside — the inside of a room is 
no place'” The other men intervened and the affair 
ended by Nakaoka drinking sake quietly and departing 

The clan council was in a terrible quandary The 

^ Tamato (old Japan) ^^second to none “Japanese spint 

[ 148 ] 



Y\M4GAT4 AXD ITO 

“ins/’ that IS, the group having the lord’s confidence 
at the time were the radical loyalists The “outs” 
were the “conservatives” willing for matters to jog 
along under the Shogun’s leadership Now came Ito 
and Inouye, disciples of Kido w^ho w'as then in Kyoto, 
and known as convinced loyalists — and yet unlike the 
rest they were advocating conciliation toward foreign- 
ers They were juniors, yet spoke wnth conviction, and 
many, including their lord and Sanjo, one of the loyal- 
ists of the Kyoto peerage who had fled to Choshu the 
year before, were more than half convinced they were 
right But they belonged to no party yet — ^were neither 
“fish, flesh, nor fowl,” and the idea that they should 
take over the clan government was too preposterous 
However, they might serve as “good red herring” to 
distract the attention of their ‘friends” the foreigners, 
and as such the party in power determined to make use 
of them 

Accordingly more troops were shipped to Osaka for 
the demonstration before Kyoto, and leading counselors 
went along, commissioned to restrain the ardor of those 
already there If these could succeed in combination 
with the strong radical party still in Kyoto, then 
Choshu would soon be leading all Japan against the 
world and m the Emperor’s name In the meanwhile, 
Ito and Inouye were charged with a message to their 
foreign friends explaining that the closing of the straits 
and the firing on foreign ships had been in obedience 
to many impenal mandates, and that therefore His 

[ 149 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


Majesty would need to be consulted regarding the pro- 
posed settlement “Would the Allies allow three 
months for laying the matter before the August 
Presence^” 

The more blunt Inouye objected to carrying such a 
message on giound that it was childish and would cer- 
tainly fail to convince the commandeis But Ito per- 
suaded him that it was the best they could do within 
the time limit toward saving the clan from destruction, 
and that they ought therefore not to refuse 

Rushing to the coast under escort, they made the 
battleship on the eve of the last day of grace Aboard, 
all was activity, as she was about to weigh anchor and 
head for Yokohama on the assumption that the two 
young negotiators had lost their nerve, or been killed 
Satow, returning from a leconnoitermg trip in another 
boat, against which the first shot of the lyar had been 
fired as a warning down near the nanows, hailed his 
friends gladly and treated them to dinner and cham- 
pagne Then came time for formal report on the suc- 
cess of their efforts, and they repeated what they had 
been told to say Thereupon they were asked for the 
official letter from their lord Ito volunteered to go 
back for one, but the British commander dismissed them 
with “I am sorry but we will have to bid you good-by 
and meet you again with cannon ” However, Satow 
informally advised them to have an offiaal letter cov- 
ering their representations, together with copies of the 
mentioned mandates from Kyoto and Yedo regarding 

[ISO] 



Y4MA.G\TA \ND ITO 

expulsion of foreigners, con-vejed direct to the legations 
in Yokohama He and other shrewd Britishers were 
trying to get to the bottom of the three-cornered 
struggle between Emperor Shogun, and clans, m w'hich 
the puzzled foreigners were made scapegoats 

The young men, feeling they had failed in the mis- 
sion they came from England to perform, and with a 
dread of great disaster to their clan and country in 
their hearts, returned and reported to their lord They 
found him more exercised over growing tenseness at 
Kyoto than at the danger from the coast Against 
their pleading he sent his heir to court with the mes- 
sage “Choshu will protect the Emperor from the for- 
eign barbarian ” At the same time Lord Mon sug- 
gested that if the Allied fleet actually did appear, Ito 
and Inouye meet it and endeavor to stave off attack 
The young men knew ‘‘barbarian” psychology too well 
to agree to do this It was then suggested that they 
go direct to Yokohama and try to delay things through 
the Ministers there Inouye was “fed up” by this time 
and insisted that he would stay home, fight the for- 
eigners, and die, but Ito would let no possibility of 
savmg the situation, however slight and face-losing, 
escape When they parted, Inouye, as the last thing he 
could do for his beloved comrade, wrote to a wealthy 
friend in Yedo to supply Ito with plenty of money in 
jail, for his apprehension by the Tokugawa seemed 
certain 

Ito started by way of Kyoto to see Kido and do 

[ 151 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


what he could to insure caution in precipitating trouble 
there A radical change had come over him since he 
had hid in the coal bunkers going out of Yedo bay 
No more the swashbuckler, he was possessed by an 
undiscourageable sense of responsibility which was to 
save his nation untold difficulties and make him the 
most indispensable personality of the transition period 
He was still the adventurer, of course Who but a 
youth of that breed would have the self-confidence, the 
presumption, and the will to set himself up as pleni- 
potentiary for his nation and proceed to act, although 
outlawed by his government, discountenanced by his 
clan, and suspected or smiled at by his clients, the 
foreigners? 

Halfway to Kyoto he met a Choshu force returning, 
defeated The Shogun’s party had won in Kyoto, and 
Choshu’s conciliatory blandishments to the Emperor 
had been met with threat of punishment for attempting 
to intimidate the court Then the southern samurai 
had appealed to arms — to be defeated after a fright- 
ful affray that raged around the palace and in which 
the streets of the city were strewn with corpses and a 
large part of it burned 

It was impossible now for Ito to reach Yedo, and he 
returned to Yamaguchi to find Inouye shamelessly 
preaching jingoism When Ito got his old comrade by 
himself and asked for an explanation, Inouye answered 
sardonically that since the pigs insisted on going to 
slaughter, there might as well be some eclat about it 

[ 152 ] 



y\:magata axd ito 

Ito reprovingly convinced him that this was no way to 
carry out the spirit of their London agreement 

Rumors of the approach of eighteen “lightning ships” 
threw the populace into panic The warriors on coast 
duty under Yamagata and other officers remained 
steady enough, but the jingoes in the lord’s castle began 
to weaken in their knees They saw themselves now 
far indeed from being leaders of Japan Inouye and 
Ito convened a “scrub” council which belatedly decided 
on peace Young Ito undertook the wild enterprise of 
intercepting the fleet He hired a fishing boat and with 
a comrade pushed out into the Inland Sea The gun- 
boats steamed past his tiny craft without notice 
Inouye had better luck He got aboard the flagship 
with a petty official, just before the fleet assumed its 
battle formation, but was told the time for negotiations 
had passed , Back on shore Ito had come upon his old 
fellow-fihbusterer, Takasugi, now commander of a force 
that he had modeled on foreign Imes — specially hired 
commoners, not samuiai — and trained with rifles which 
no samurai would carry They took sedan chairs for 
Bakan, toward which the fleet was steaming, presently 
meeting Inouye who was hurrymg back to Yamaguchi 
to urge the Daimyo to come personally and inspirit the 
defense The three “pals” joined in the mission 
Halfway on their hasty journey they heard the open- 
ing of the cannonade between two hundred and seventy- 
odd guns on the allied side (just one American) and 
the seventy or so of inferior range that Choshu had 

[ 153 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


been able to mount ® Yamagata’s little fort on the 
south side was the first to be wrecked (September S, 
1864) and he took to a boat The next day a shot went 
through his knapsack, grazing his arm as he was lifting 
it to drink He soon saw the hopelessness of the enter- 
prise and declared the necessity of a different policy 
toward foreigners Two days of fighting them wrought 
the same drastic mental shift in him as a few months of 
observation m London had in Ito 
Ito, Inouye, and Takasugi had found their lord pre- 
ferred to remain where he was He did, by way of 
endorsement, give them his personal firearms to use, and 
they hastened back When they appeared, the officers 
in command on the coast, decidedly awed by the allied 
shellfire, had decided to take matters into their own 
hands and sue for peace, ignoring the Daimyo and his 
council The three young samurai were at once com- 
missioned to negotiate Takasugi, because of his higher 
rank, as “envoy,” and Ito and Inouye as “interpreters ” 
(Total period of English study, five months eachi) 
As they were seeking means of getting out to the at- 


s The Japanese Offiaal History states that the bombardment was started 
from a fort built by Choshu on a little island Satow pubhsbes a chart 
ot the scene showini; no island, and says the fleet opened the bombardment 
Satow probably overlooked the httle island of Hikojima, outside Shimono- 
seki Strait, facing the Japan Sea between the Kokura and Choshu promon- 
tones The two forts of Deshimachi and Yamatoko on this island stood 
to the last against the Allied fleet and only when they were subdued did 
the Choshu force assent to armistice As to who fired first, we may 
gallantly allow that “distinction” to the Japanese, since they received the 
worst of the action As in the controversy over whether the Pembroke 
was hit or not, Japanese amour propre may have something to do with 
the records 


[ 154 ] 



YAMAG4T\ AXD ITO 

tacking fleet, one of the clan councilors intercepted 
them and engaged Takasugi m hot dispute over his 
authority to act Ito, disgusted left them arguing and 
climbed a hill to observe activities Landing parties 
were ashore wrecking what was left of the batteries, 
and compelling the defending troops to retire by 
superior mastery of rifle fire A few houses at one end 
of the towm had been burned and Ito remembered how 
the inflammable wood and paper houses of Satsuma’s 
capital had been destroyed by incendiary missiles from 
the British the autumn before, and the suspense be- 
came too much for him He would proceed alone' All 
night he searched for a means 

By next morning ( September 8) he had succeeded, 
through combined bribery and intimidation, in getting 
a fisherman to sail him out to the largest gunboat of 
the fleet The amused gunners let him approach He 
asked for the flagship and was directed to the British 
Ewyalus His friend Satow, coming back from an ex- 
cursion to see the dismantling of some forts, foimd him 
there at noon 

“Oh, Mr Ito, are you tired of the battle?” was his 
greeting 

“Yes, that is why I am here — to negotiate peace,” 
the self-ordained diplomat replied 

So he was taken before the captain, at the moment 
having a bullet wound dressed “See what you devils 
have done,” was his not very cordial welcome But 
Ito persuaded the captain to signal the arrival of an 

[ISS] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


envoy of truce, and the British Kupjer and the French 
James were soon on their way, as also a boat to bring 
off shore the accredited ministers whom Ito had an- 
nounced 

Boarding the ship, the British Admiral looked skep- 
tically at Ito and asked if he were to consider one lone 
young soldier a peace delegation Evidently Takasugi 
had lost his argument, for the returning ship’s boat 
brought three hereditary councilors of the clan All 
their written messages dated from befoie the battle, so 
the Admirals laid down terms and gave them forty- 
eight hours to secure acceptance Ito had no rank or 
gorgeous raiment, but Satow remarked how the digni- 
taries had learned from events to give great weight to 
his counsel It was only the ordinary Japanese way 
in those times for “great names” to take the honors 
while lesser functionaries from the Shtpgun down 
planned and executed what had to be done Ito also 
turned over certified copies of the orders which had 
gotten Choshu into trouble 

The guns were stilled on the coast, but serious trouble 
was not far away at Yamaguchi, where the “Oust- 
Foreigners” men were desperately struggling to survive 
the discredit of their policy When Ito and Takasugi 
got up there, friends told them some older clansmen 
had sworn to kill them if they tried to see the Daimyo 
They were forced to hide in a farmhouse, while their 
enemies undertook to negotiate — but soon proved un- 
able to propose anything practicable Fmally, Yama- 

[ 156 ] 



YAaHG\TA AND TTO 

gata, distinguished in the fighting, and who, though 
of the younger group, was beyond accusation of being 
barbarophile, i^ent in his quiet, determined way before 
the lord and convinced him Then he went to his 
schoolmates’ hiding place and escorted them to the 
Daim>o’s presence A fully accredited delegation m 
which Ito had a part u-as made up on the spot, and 
went forth to accept the peace terms offered 

Peace was sealed by the exchange of presents The 
British Admiral sent a silver vase to the Daimyo and 
gave a pistol to Ito in recognition of his services as 
“interpreter ” Some of the negotiators, with Ito still 
in this capacity, were taken up for a visit to the for- 
eign authorities m the shelter of their settlement at 
Yokohama, which was a surpnsingly pleasant occasion 
for the recently “Oust-Foreigner” enthusiasts The 
peace terms, had included stipulation of “ransom” for 
the town of Bakan because some shots had reached the 
allied forces from there as well as from the forts Ito 
began feeling out Sir Rutherford’s idea on the amount, 
as his instructions had been primarily to minimize any 
penalty upon his lord’s treasure chest Imagine his 
surprise when Sir Rutherford waved this aside, saying, 
“The Shogun has attended to that for you ” The Yedo 
government, in a last effort to preserve “face” before 
the Powers, and also, doubtless, desirous of avoiding 
the openmg of a rival port to Nagasaki which was 
the alternative offered, with its possibility of enriching 
a rebelhous region and giving foreigners teratorial 

[157 3 



EMINENT ASIANS 


foothold m Japan, had taken over responsibility 
for the three million dollars Maybe it hoped to 
collect them from Choshu — but before the ten years 
granted for payment were up, it had passed out of ex- 
istence 

The delegation went back safely in a British war- 
ship Ten pieces of silver was Ito’s recognition from 
Lord Mon for saving the clan' 

Hearing that his friend Inouye had been wounded by 
an assassin, Ito hastened to Yamaguchi to see him 
This deed brought on the appeal to arms between the 
two parties in the clan The conservatives got their 
men in as councilors, and arrested those who had or- 
dered the expedition to Kyoto Takasugi escaped and 
his band scattered Then Saigo of Satsuma came down 
to suggest terms that could be made before the Shogun’s 
approaching army should arrive The tenns were hard, 
including haraktn for the arrested councilors, but were 
accepted to save the clan, and the oncoming army was 
disbanded on January 30, 1865 

Agamst this capitulation, the hitherto deliberate 
Yamagata declared himself m an indignant memorial 
to the Daimyo There was no reply The feudal lord 
had allowed himself to be shut away in a temple by 
his coimcilors While heads of his former colleagues 
were falling in the blood pit, Yamagata, disguised as a 
tonsured priest, attempted to see his lord He reached 
the apartment, only to be told that his lordship was 
“busy” and his heir “in bed ” This decided him, and 

[1S8] 



Y\MAG'\TA AND ITO 

he began rallying men who had fought under him at the 
straits of Bakan 

Conscious of their weakness in loyal support, the 
councilors called on another clan, to help restrain their 
own men This “traitorous” action cost them such re- 
spect as was theirs Yamagata nevertheless had a 
rough winter of it The common people, frightened 
by their clan offiaals, refused his men shelter and sup- 
plies They were compelled to quarter m temples and 
live on temple offerings and sake, and on many nights 
to pillow their heads on the images The force was 
finally reduced to three hundred and seventy-five vet- 
erans, whom Yamagata clothed in coat and trousers and 
drilled and armed as near as he could m European style 
It was the most effective of early attempts at modem 
military organization m Japan, from which was to grow 
one of the^world’s greatest armies Like Takasugi, 
Yamagata confidently recruited common people These 
peasants, fishermen, and merchants were to whip in 
battle the samurai who scorned them Loving his coun- 
try more than his caste, and driven by necessity, Yama- 
gata was sounding the death knell of his caste It 
would yet be counted great honor to have been of the 
now sneered at kihetai or “Strange Troops” as these 
forces were called They were the first of a new mili- 
tary aristocracy 

Ito had gone down to the port of Bakan (now Shimi- 
noseki, just inside the straits) to recruit a little force, 
and Takasugi only a few miles away was in touch with 

[ 159 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


his veterans Ito, who always took more interest in 
scheming than m actual soldiering, and wanted to be 
free for any opportunity, merged his force in Taka- 
sugi’s 

Yet another kind of romance involved him about 
this time He was hidmg m an inn from pursmng 
assassins, and a maid of about fifteen named Umeko 
Kida managed to conceal him beneath the floor of her 
chamber Armed searchers came in, questioned and 
coquetted with her, but she sat with innocent face over 
his head She not only saved a future prince of Japan, 
but became a future princess when next year (1866) 
during a lull m the turmoil, she became his wife, to be 
the faithful companion of all his succeeding years 

Yamagata’s Kihetai were getting the worst of it in 
the latter part of January, 1865 The ill-informed com- 
mander for the Shogun, regarding opposition as doomed, 
was disbanding his army when Takasugi took the field 
The tide turned Hagi fell to the rebels and presently 
the council had to sue for peace 

Yaraagata’s victory determined death or hiding for 
the conservative faction and the clan embarked on a 
new policy, dictated by younger men, of whom Kido 
was counted first, with Yamagata, Ito, Takasugi, and 
Inouye Their program was to fight it out with the 
Tokugawa, and prepare by building and purchase of 
warships, collecting munitions, and creation of Western- 
style militia and police The clan income, equivalent 
to around five million dollars a year, was no mean 

[160] 



Y^M^GATA AND ITO 

backing for the project nor were the forces Yama- 
gata succeeded in recruiting, numbering about forty 
thousand On the other hand, the nearly bankrupt 
court of Yedo was straining every nerve to overmatch 
these preparations and keep the sympathy of other 
clans 

Realizing that his unique position in the clan de- 
pended upon knowledge of the West, and having ac- 
complished, as he felt what he had come home for, 
Ito planned to return to London, taking Takasugi with 
him Inouye — most able m the money-raising line — 
secured the appropriation They went to Nagasaki to 
get help from Ito’s British merchant friend, who had 
removed to the southern port from Yokohama This 
man advised that they await the arrival of the new 
British Mimster and endeavor to win him to sjmipathy 
with the Restoration 

Sir Rutherford had been recalled from an unpleasant 
post to explain his initiative in the Choshu expedition 
and be promoted In July, 186S, came energetic Sir 
Harry Parkes As an orphan lad he had joined rela- 
tives in Macao, had started in the consular service at 
fifteen, made a name in the capture of Canton and as 
ruler during its foreign occupation, and later as climax 
of adventures had been tortured at Peking while the 
Anglo-French forces approached Now at thirty-seven 
he was transferred to Japan as Mimster The young 
men returned to Bakan to propose to their party the 
opening of that port to trade, as a bid for the new 

[161] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


British Minister’s favor Their counsels leaked out, 
and again they were pursued from clan territory by 
assailants The ever-influential Ehdo arrived from 
Kyoto to take control of the situation, and they re- 
turned under his guaranty of protection 

In Sir Hariy’s first months in Japan he got the Sho- 
gun’s treaties accepted by the Mikado, and began col- 
lection of the Bakan ransom from the sorely worried 
court of Yedo These diversions allowed time for new 
developments in the South Certain leaders like Saigo 
of Satsuma and Kido of Choshu had long secretly har- 
bored the project of all3ang the two clans, but each had 
been afraid to make first offer, anticipatmg rebuff from 
the rival clan Now men of Tosa, a clan sea-protected 
yet near the capitals, intervened in the cause of im- 
perial loyalty and got them together The scholarly 
swordsman Ryuma Sakamoto formulated the secret 
agreement early in 1866 whereby both clans were to 
cooperate for the common end Satsuma to endeavor 
to get Choshu restored to favor, and Choshu to buy 
British arms through Satsuma — for the Shogun con- 
trolled open ports strictly and outlawed Choshu could 
not buy direct 

In accord with this understanding Ito and Inouye 
went down to Nagasaki to get seven thousand nfles 
and a small steamer at rather outrageous prices Hav- 
ing completed this mission, the two went on to Kago- 
shima in hope of interviewing Sir Harry, who was 
expected on a visit that summer Finding they had 

[ 162 ] 



YAM^GATA. AND ITO 

a month to spare they utilized it for reporting back 
to headquarters 

When Ito and Sir Harry finally met, both >oung 
both adventurers, they became friends at once An 
alhance to continue many a year was formed — one that 
enhanced the reputation of Englishman and Japanese 
equally The former is credited with “discovery” of 
the Emperor of Japan, and the latter’s intimacy with 
Parkes was to make him a name in the first Secretariat 
for Foreign Affairs of the Empire Through association 
with the young leader of the Restoration, Parkes was 
able to complete that training of Japanese officialdom 
in world outlook and diplomatic procedure which the 
patient, studious, and dignified American diplomat, 
Townsend Harris, had begim in the fifties Bntain 
and the southern clans had been foes but shortly before, 
but w'ar once over, the spirit of chivalry came in to 
insure to Sir Harry a good welcome in Kagoshima, and 
he cultivated the favor of the Restoration party the 
more whole-heartedly because the French Minister was 
backing the Shogun 

All this intriguing aroused the Tokugawa to action 
Ito’s visit with Parkes was cut short by news that four 
government forces were converging upon Choshu On 
way to battle he was throwm from his mount and in- 
jured When he recovered he was kept busy with 
liaison and supply work Never again was he to en- 
gage m actual combat Fate had turned the career 
of the swashbuckler into peaceful channels The calm 

[ 163 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


Yamagata’s life was as definitely set the other way 
Yamagata, Takasugi, and Inouye were in the field 
Their eighteen months’ preparation more than enabled 
Choshu to hold its own The government’s most telling 
work against the rebel clan was in raids upon Choshu 
harbors and fishing fleets by four gunboats operating 
from a base in Kokura territory on the Kiushu side of 
the Inland Sea Choshu had no ships large enough to 
engage them, but made a landing across the straits 
Yamagata showed his resourcefulness, commanding an 
army of Kihetai that embarked in fishing boats by 
night and led a successful storming of the enemy’s naval 
base The Tokugawas’ Kokura allies proposed peace 
and Commander Ogasawara withdrew the Shogunate 
forces to the mam island, virtually ending operations 
Meanwhile high events had occurred which were soon 
formally to end the campaign The Shogun died The 
decks were further cleared when he was followed to 
the “Yellow Sprmgs” by the anti-foreign Emperor 
Komei early in 1867 Keiki, the loyalists’ former 
candidate, succeeded as Shogun, and was glad to stop 
the wai m the South under pretext of the mourning 
ceremonies, disbanding his armies to show sincerity 
The Imperial Throne meanwhile was taken by a child 
of great promise, Mustuhito, who came under direc- 
tion of nobles whom Kido had to some extent educated 
in national and world viewpoints 
The time seemed ripe for a definite stroke for the 
Restoration Shogun Keiki was beggmg the Throne 

[164] 



YA.M4GA.T4 AND ITO 

to withdra’R opposition to the opening of the new port 
near Osaka and not far from the Emperor’s capital, 
Kyoto, which he had agreed to in his treaties Okuro 
of Satsuma and the other loyalists plotted that if the 
port were to be opened the Shogun should not do it 
They maneuvered to get other clans besides the “Sat- 
Cho-To” combination into sympathy with their objects, 
and the occasion of the coronation made it the easier 
to get clan heads into counsel at Kyoto The measure 
adopted was to persuade the Daimyo of Tosa, very 
friendly to the Tokugawa by tradition, to suggest 
resignation to Keiki as a way either of proving his 
strength, or at the worst, making an honorable exit 
from his difficulties Choshu, officially in disfavor, was 
unrepresented at Kyoto But Ito was there, quietly 
observing, by order of his lord and Yamagata obtained 
audience wuth the Satsuma Regent through an ac- 
quaintance of his early visits to Kiushu, Saigo the 
Lesser, brother of the older Saigo, and equally a loyalist 
After healing Yamagata’s views, the Regent of Sat- 
suma, a very different t3q3e from Mon of Choshu, cryp- 
tically told the young soldier to return, organize his 
clan, and await a message through Saigo 
Yamagata found time to get his girl, Komuko, before 
events were precipitated His memorial had convinced 
her parents he could wnte as well as fight — ^which 
brought their assent Ito went down to Nagasaki 
again, arranging for British steamers to transport troops 
m the projected war against the Tokugawa After 

[ 165 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


helping assemble a large force from three clans at 
Hiogo, near Osaka, he tried to take an officer’s com- 
mand, but Kido told him he was needed for the more 
important commissions of peace He returned to Cho- 
shu bringing an American, whom he installed as first 
foreign teacher and adviser in the clan He had gone 
a long way m the five years since his attempts to burn 
out and assassinate all “barbarians ” Foreign senset, 
from Chamberlam to Hearn, were to play a large part 
in bringing Japan into equality in the world’s race — 
a part in many cases eventuating tragically, for their 
work was to make themselves unnecessary 

Keiki’s leading minister was assassinated, and the 
letter which Yodo of Tosa had innocently written 
recommending resignation got past the outer chancel- 
leries into his hands, in the autumn of 1867 He went 
one better on the idea and called representatives of 
about forty clans to sign in token of approval a peti- 
tion asking relief for him and his house from all re- 
sponsibility for national administration, suggesting that 
function be “taken back” to the Emperor’s immediate 
care, with cooperation of all clans — a slap at the self- 
assumption of the southern group Satsuma, Tosa, 
and Aki headed the list of signers with rude but signifi- 
cant promptness The day after receipt, November 
10th, the petition was imperially granted A few days 
later, Keiki, seeing that he had lost, sent in his resigna- 
tion as Shogun He was forestalled by an edict taking 
back all administration mto the imperial court 

[ 166 ] 



AND ITO 

His friend the Lord of Tosa, had not intended this, 
and still less that moie would be required But the 
southern conspirators feared that as long as the Toku- 
gawa were first m land and wealth they would be first 
in power, so after a council at Yamaguchi their forces 
moved north The younger bloods were forcing their 
lord’s hands, the “samurai spirit” was too highly ex- 
cited to stop before it could wave a bloody sword over 
Its prostrate foe 

The third of January, 1868, saw another coup at 
Kyoto All unexpectedly Keiki’s Aidzu guardsmen 
found substitutes at their posts ahead of them, and 
fortified by an imperial decree To avoid bloodshed if 
possible, Keiki retired to Osaka and told representatives 
of the Powers he would rely on moral suasion against 
the hard terms being dictated from Kyoto Then new 
came down from Yedo that Satsumas had started 
trouble there and his followers had taken up arms and 
burned the Satsuma residences in retaliation Re- 
luctantly he was persuaded by retainers that war had 
come, and that they could easily overpower the forces 
guarding Kyoto (which they far outnumbered) and 
remove the Emperor’s “evil counselors ” 

They were too sanguine, for Yamagata and other offi- 
cers of the Sat-Cho forces had their contingents set 
to advantage along the narrow roads, and chose em- 
placements for their field artillery in a way to more 
than make up for smaller numbers Prmce Ninnaji’s 
name was used is commander, and prominent in the 

[167] 



EMINENT ASIANS 

staff was Iwakura, a court noble who had led in the 
loyalist coup 

A little shrine, the “Four Saints Hall” was long after 
to be raised by Ito to Iwakura (the others being Kido 
of Choshu, Okubo of Satsuma, and anothei court noble, 
Sanjo), in appreciation of their part No soldier, Iwa- 
kura, but not the type to be expected among nobles of 
a court that had been kept century after century 
in poetry-wntmg, mcense-smelhng desuetude His 
doughty spirit showed when he silenced dogged pro- 
testation of the Daimyo of Toso against harshness to 
the Tokugawa by apprising him that “next time” he 
would invite him to “step outside” and they’d settle it 
with swords 

Through Iwakura, Yamagata got approval of the pol- 
icy of usmg the Imperial Chrysanthemum on the battle 
standards It gave unity to his side and^a touch of 
mystic fervor Fighting against the “Sacred Person’s” 
emblem was too much against the gram for some of 
Keiki’s army, and one flank gave way, surrendering 
secretly at night, bringing defeat to the rest 

Sending a circular to the foreign ministers to say he 
could no longer protect them, the Shogun quickly made 
off to Yedo in one of his warships, while all his officials 
around Osaka scattered Some of the impenalist 
troops converged on Osaka while the mam campaign 
swept northward, not to end until more than a year 
later, upon capture of the last Tokugawa adherents in 
the north island Yamagata, chief of staff under the 

1168 ] 



Y^M/\GATA AND ITO 

elder Saigo, field commander, distinguished himself for 
careful actions, not only victories, but definite strokes 
toward end of the conflict In a few cases there was 
inexcusable barbarity as the slaughter almost to a man 
of the faithful Aidzu samurai and the prompt self-immo- 
lation of their Spartan mothers and wives, who m many 
cases killed the children first 

The closing tragedy of the Shogunate was to provide 
Ito a chance for the bold strokes that “made” him 
The situation was doubly dangerous because of the posi- 
tion of the foreigners The group now in power was 
declaredly anti-foreign, restrained only by a few young 
men with their eyes open, such as Ito 

Apparently unaware of the change in administration 
and oblivious of danger due both to the fighting and 
their unprotected status, the entire diplomatic corps 
and a largp number of foreign merchants and mis- 
sionaries came from Tokyo to Osaka by sea to cele- 
brate the opening of the first port of the Inland Sea 
to foreign trade, which function had been previously set 
by the Shogun for January 1, 1868 The foreigners 
had just arrived when the Tokugawa, crushed at the 
battle of Fushimi, fled toward Osaka with the imperial 
army in hot pursuit 

The mob and assorted factions of soldiery held Osaka 
The Shogun’s great palace in the citadel was burned 
A party of French killed a few in a crowd that set 
upon them Their legation and the Dutch were burned 
Although Satsuma and Shoshu leaders might inclme to 

[ 169 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


friendliness, with the soldiers and rabble the end of 
Tokugawa rule meant withdrawal of protection from 
the barbarian Diplomats and accompanying friends 
took small boats or waded through the sticky rice fields 
eighteen miles eastward to Hiogo, m hope of finding 
protection in this fishing village designated as the new 
open port The magistrates there had fled Two at- 
tendants of the French Minister almost precipitated 
tragedy by dodging through a marching line of con- 
temptuous Bizen clansmen, drawing pistols when 
roughly reprimanded, and fleeing under fire The 
offended samurai shot at every house in which for- 
eigners were putting up The soldiers and civilians, led 
by American marines, promptly launched in pursuit and 
chased the surprised Japanese out of sight The 
Westerners stopped traffic on the great highway, sent 
word they were ready to make this a case against all 
Japan, in default of proper amends, and then raised bar- 
ricades, set cannon, and seized the native shipping in 
the harbor The enraged samurai and populace went 
out to stir up the entire imperial army and the nation 
to make a complete sweep of barbarians There was 
the possibility of the imperial regime being ushered in 
with an incident that would have set the whole world 
to destroy it 

It was, of course, Ito’s quick wit and audaaty that 
saved the situation Through Endo, his friend of the 
London adventure now studymg under Mr Satow, he 
learned that it was the expected thing for the heads of 

[ 170 ] 



Y4MAGATA AND ITO 

new regimes to apprise diplomatic corps formally of the 
change and renew assurances of protection and treaty- 
faith, and that this must come in the name of the 
Mikado himself, if his government were to be regarded 
as fiiendly Two young partisans brought a most in- 
dignant account from the British Minister Sir Harry 
wanted to know if the Emperor, after British good 
will had helped so in establishing him, was going to 
repudiate the duty of protecting foreigners, and seemed 
especially put out that his nationals should suffer for 
the actions of the French Ito relayed the news with 
some educational remarks of his own to Prince Ko- 
matsu The mills of authority ground rapidly for once, 
and presently Ito was aboard a little steamer on em- 
bassy to Hiogo as aide to the court noble Higashi-Kuze, 
to whom had fallen the new-made office of Imperial 
Foreign Mipister Four days after the outbreak (Feb- 
ruary 8), he presented to the assembled diplomats in 
Hiogo a letter with the Mikado’s own signature — ^but 
face-savingly dated the day before the trouble — ^in 
which the Throne assumed full responsibility for the 
government and all the treaties made by the Shogun 
As Throne envoy, Ito promised the required amend for 
Bizen hostility, and the diplomats agreed to withdrawal 
of troops and release of shipping 
Two days more, and the diplomats were apprised that 
young Ito had been appointed customs inspector and 
governor of Hiogo and of their httle settlement named 
'‘God’s Door” (Kobe) Hiogo town was to be swal- 

[ 171 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


lowed up by its growth into a great cosmopolitan port 
What Ito lacked in rank he made up in fitness for the 
post His leadership consPtuted the men he influenced 
into a kind of party devoted to progress and enlighten- 
ment and made Hiogo for a time an eye for the Em- 
pire Thus haply a poor sub-samurai of a rebel clan 
became leading expert in foreign affairs for a nation, 
launched on the career of official honor at the instant 
the new government he had helped to found was born 
It IS hardly possible to believe, but he was only twenty- 
six The eventful years seemed long, stretching back 
to when he used to dream of becoming a second Hide- 
yoshi The dream had merged into extraordinary ful- 
fillment Ito had turned, and after him the nation was 
to turn, from the romance of the past to the lure of a 
world of new nations, new ways of living, new codes 
of thinking Forty years of increasingly ^responsible 
public life, and a dramatic death, were ahead for him 
Ito put a last thorough touch to his handling of the 
Hiogo affair, early m March, 1868, when he presided at 
the harahn of the Bizen officer who had ordered the 
volley that swept Kobe Ito had suggested clemency, 
which the majority of foreign plenipotentiaries voted 
would be bad policy So Ito made a diplomatic social 
affair out of it and invited them to be present One 
and all found themselves to be previously engaged and 
sent their secretaries Satow sat opposite Ito 
The samurai did not resign themselves without inci- 
dent to the inferred new policy of deference to for- 

[ 172 1 



y\m\ga.ta. and ito 

eigners Tosa clansmen killed eleven French sailors m 
a man o’war’s boat near Osaka Yet more serious was 
the attempt by two mtransigeant souls to assassinate 
Sii Harry Parkes, en route to Japan’s first imperial 
audience to the diplomatic corps 

Ito was fuiious at these efforts to undermine the 
newly established relations Impel lal apology the hara- 
km of eleven Tosa men, and indemnity for then vic- 
tims’ families was his way of clearing up the first 
incident But the defiant death poems of the self- 
immolated circulated through the land and made them 
popular heroes Rushing to Kyoto over the outrage 
to his friend, the not safely affronted Parkes, Ito con- 
curred m having the assailant degraded and beheaded 
as a commoner Swashbucklers finally had convincing 
evidence that the good old daj'^s were past 

Many years later, Ito, Prime Minister, was to visit 
the ashes of his old comiades m Kyoto, come suddenly 
upon a stone erected to Parkes’ would-be assassin, and 
angrily protest its presence in such an honorable place 
“But,” he was to be reminded by some one present, 
“did not many of the men whose graves Your Excellency 
honors commit violence against foreigners?” 

“When such action brought trouble upon the Sacred 
Person’s enemies, it was not culpable,” was to be Ito’s 
reply, doubtless made with a mind to his own adven- 
tures “But when it endangered the Sacred Person it 
was villainy ” In Japan, as elsewhere, the hero and 
the dastard have often been distinguished by a slight 

X173] 



EMINENT ASIANS 

matter of success — ^with the added embellishment that 
the successful one has gone down m history as a sup- 
porter of the Son of Heaven Ito was more right than 
his explanation In times of political development 
there is no sm like consistency 

Ito’s bold stepping into the breach at Hiogo put him 
considerably ahead of the older Yamagata m fame and 
claim on court favor His lead was increased by one 
rash day m the life of that usually careful soldier The 
imperial court, well advised by Okubo, Kido, and other 
elder statesmen, removed from its ancient seat at Kyoto 
to Yedo This strategy effected several psychological 
results In harmony with ancient tradition, it marked 
the beginning of a new era in imperial policy Again 
it served as notice to several ambitious clans that the 
Shogun’s prestige would not pass from the fallen Toku- 
gawa to one of them, but would in fact thenceforth be 
absorbed by the court The name Yedo was now 
dropped for Tokyo, Eastern Capital 
As the imperial procession made its stately progress 
from Kyoto to Tokyo along the famous Eastern Sea 
Road, it came upon Yamagata who had been in a 
“mopping up” campaign where beautiful Suruga bay 
laps the foot of the sacred White Mother, Fujiyama 
Kido invited the young commander_to share the honor 
of joining the Emperor’s retinue The triumphant 
march into the Shogun’s capital was too much for 
Yamagata, who was impelled to relieve his feelings by 
hieing with some fellows to a sake house and drmkmg 

[17 



YAMA.GATA AKD ITO 

beyond discretion On coming out, the party encoun- 
tered a group of Tokugawa samurai whose mien Yama- 
gata thought much too haughty for recently defeated, 
although amnestied, rebels An argument ensued 
Yamagata fired his pistol, but when he saw men closing 
in from all sides he dodged through into another street, 
clambered into a waiting sedan chair and prevailed upon 
the surprised bearers to start off with him — anywhere 
Then he promptly fell into a contented sleep The 
iminstructed coolies assumed — as they would to-day — 
that there was one destination which could not be 
wrong, and they took him to Yoshiwara In this 
notorious mart of an ancient trade he was bundled out 
and handed over to the Butterflies, who stowed him 
away But his enemies soon came upon him He would 
have been overpowered and dragged to their camp if an 
imperial patj-ol had not just then happened along and 
taken an interest in the hubbub The roistering hero 
was reproved and sent back to Osaka, with a grant of 
a life annmty of six hundred koku — ^around $2,400 
He humbly petitioned to go abroad and m the second 
year of the new Emperor, whose era was to be known 
as Metjt (“Enlightened Rule”) he and Saigo the Lesser 
of Satsuma were dispatched for a year of observation 
The thin, dyspeptic soldier was thus to overcome his 
“setback,” and from now on he would mcrease steadily 
until he held the Empire in his hand 

Upon the establishment of the regime at Tokyo, 
Bado and other advisers of the yotmg Emperor thou^t 

E17S] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


it wise to announce a general constitutional basis on 
which government would hereafter be conducted 
Since no one, in theory, could exact a pledge from the 
omnipotent Emperor, it was arranged that he should 
pledge himself^ in the form of an oath This was a 
brief document, published in June, 1868, and as Kido 
wanted it “modern” it was phrased to sound liberal, 
progressive, and e\en democratic It called for centrali- 
zation of power and modernization — i e , imitation of 
the West beginning with the arresting article 

The practice of discussion and debate shall be universally 
adopted, and all measures shall be decided by public argu- 
ment 

High and low shall be of one mind, and social order shall 
thereby be perfectly maintained It is necessaiy that the civil 
and military powers be concentrated in a single whole, the 
rights of all classes be assured, and the national mind be com- 
pletely satisfied 

The uncivilized customs of former times shall be broken 
through, and the impartiality and justice displayed in the 
working of nature shall be adopted as a basis of action In- 
tellect and learning shall be sought for throughout the woild, 
in order to establish the foundations of the Empire 

On one of Kido’s visits to Kobe he informed young 
Governor Ito that the Satsuma clan was going to offer 
from its fief temtory to be directly ruled and adminis- 
tered by the imperial government sufficient to provide 
one hundred thousand koku of rice (around four times 
the number of dollars) yearly Kido proposed that 
Choshu ought to go one better by proffering a one hun- 

[176] 



YAM4GATA AND ITO 

dred and fifty thousand koku estate Ito, citing what 
he had learned of development from feudalism into na- 
ationalism in Europe, stated his opinion that the clans 
should not put the Emperor in the position of being 
patronized by receiving grants from his vassals, but that 
they should turn over the fiefs in entirety as well as 
the clan military forces, enabling establishment of truly 
centralized national power 

Kido went to work on the suggestion and its ac- 
complishment was to become the monument of his life 
His power was great due to his being a yoin or business 
manager of his clan government He made contact 
with his contemporaries m other clans and through 
them convinced the Daimyo that they would be better 
off, as well as patriotic, if they turned over their fiefs 
in lieu of pensions, with no expenses of government and 
no risk of weather or popular revolt The yoin would 
of course be more important than ever — ^m charge of 
finance and business for the Emperor direct without 
the necessity of pleasing a feudal head By March S, 
1871, through a combination, as the British Legation 
Secretary McLaren describes it, of appeal to principles, 
sentiments, cupidity, and fear, “Elido was able to unite 
the lords of Satsuma, Choshu, Hizen and Tosa in a 
proposal to restore their fiefs and hand over their regis- 
ters of land and subjects to the Emperor ” The docu- 
ment, a well-drawn histoncal and legal argument, was 
to become second in fame only to the imperial oath 
It was accepted at once The three hundred lesser 

[177] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


lords of the archipelago could but follow the example 
In July the throne was strong enough to announce that 
those who had neglected to do so would be compelled to 
hand over their registers A mandate abolished the 
ancient distinction between court and feudal nobility, 
making all who furthered imperial policies members 
of a new “democratic nobility” of one rank only, called 
“Flowery Families ” The next year Kido and his Sat- 
suma friend Okubo, with the aid of the blue-blooded 
Iwakura, visited the great clans with the result that 
the daimyos of Satsuma, Choshu, and Tosa permanently 
left their ancient seats to reside in Tokyo, leaving the 
bulk of their forces to be merged into an imperial 
army Yamagata, returmng from his trip around the 
world, impressed with the equipment and regimenta- 
tion of the French army and the conscription system of 
von Moltke, proceeded to whip the ne^ army into 
shape By August 29, 1871, the young oligarchs about 
the throne felt strong enough to issue the drastic Re- 
script on Abolition of Clans, transforming their terri- 
tories into imperial departments Feudalism had been 
fallen, in half a generation’ 

Its human product, the knighthood, remained to be 
dealt with before the old era could be said to have 
passed Young men, born on the fringe of this aristoc- 
racy, who had struggled their way into it, now unblush- 
ingly inspired denunciation of its recently sacrosanct 
status m the newly born press (which was to continue 
as vituperative as it began) The samurai were dubbed 

[178] 



YAM^GATA AND ITO 

“parasites on the people ” The daimyos who signed 
over their fiefs had been granted perpetual pensions 
from the imperial treasury of one-half their average 
rice-collections — this was an advantage for them as they 
escaped levies, responsibility for public works, upkeep 
of clan armies, and philanthropy toward the unlanded 
samurai The central government now ofiered a less 
liberal scheme of income to continue for “one or two 
lives” to the landed knighthood, whose serfs were to 
consider themselves as belonging only to the Emperor 
and were henceforth to pay taxes instead of croppage 
Ito had left his governorship to establish the new 
department of trade and commerce, had negotiated with 
the British for the beginning of railway construction, 
and had made a trip to Amenca regarding the renewal 
of the Townsend Harris treaty He was encouraged 
to believe that he might negotiate changes in the treaty 
limitations on import tariffs which would give Japan 
revenue at this needy time, and he went back withm 
SIX months along with Iwakura, Kido, and Okubo This 
formidable and earnest three-year mission failed com- 
pletely in America and Europe, bringing home to 
Japanese that the treaty advantages gamed over them 
by the Western nations would only be won back through 
a long hard climb to modem juridical standards, 
machine industry, and military power The effect was 
to straighten the backs and stiffen the lips of the nation 
at large, but it was hard on Inouye When that im- 
pulsive patriot, whose ability to raise money for the 

[ 179 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


patriot group had caused him to be entrusted with 
finance in the first imperial government, reckoned up 
and discovered that he was expected to support three 
hundred daimyo and four hundred thousand samurai 
households — ^no less than two million persons out of a 
population then numbering forty million — ^he quit in 
disgust, taking with him his councilor, Shibusawa, a 
budding financial genius who was to become one of 
Japan’s fiist industrial plutocrats, and live ninety years 
into the age of post-war power, great fortunes, and 
social unrest 

Okuma, a young Emperor supporter whose oppor- 
tunity was not so laige as his talent because he sprang 
from the lesser clans of Hizen, was then given charge 
of finance England, glad to build up a foil to Russia 
in the Orient, offered loans With these and the deci- 
mation of the pension obhgation, Okuma pulled his gov- 
ernment through the critical years of 1871-81 The 
enforced liquidation of pension claims by government 
bonds appeared to the samurai, however, as breach of 
faith on the part of the new government 

Samurai resentment manifested itself in ronin fili- 
bustermg m Tosa and Choshu, an attempt on the life 
of the noble Iwakura, somewhat inconsistent appeals 
for representative government based on the imperial 
oath and a revival of Yoshida Shoin’s jmgoism Saigo 
the Greater was head of military affairs, with cool, 
hard-working Yamagata under him working to bmld 
such an army as he had conceived out of his on-ground 

[ISO] 



YAMAGATA AND ITO 

studies of the American Civil and Franco-Prussian 
Wars When Kido and Ito, returning from their fruit- 
less mission, memorialized the throne agamst imperialist 
ventures, advising concentration on peaceful constitu- 
tional development as a necessary requisite to equality 
among the nations, Saigo the Greater, always a chauvin- 
ist at heart and a S3nnpathizer with the restless samurai, 
withdrew from the government and returned to Sat- 
suma That clan virtually left the coalition, becoming 
estranged from its sole member in high councils, Okubo, 
who thereupon requested Ito temporarily to take the 
ministry of the navy normally considered a perqmsite 
of the seafaring Satsumas It was Ito’s first member- 
ship in a formal cabinet 

The Emperor of Korea, better supplied with tradi- 
tions than power or cabinet ability, haughtily refused 
to recognize the new Japanese regime The ronin 
flocked to Saigo, who founded patriotic schools after the 
manner of Yoshida Shorn They demanded a war on 
Korea at once, to be followed up by the conquest of 
China To let off steam the government authorized 
an expedition, with the acqmescence of Chma, against 
the Formosan head-hunters, whom the Chmese authori- 
ties were unable to prevent from cooking and eating 
Japanese who adventured among them The yoimger 
Saigo led three thousand malcontents in a bnef cam- 
paign Its success was limited, it cost five and a half 
million yen, and Kido resigned in protest He never 
came back to the government but was to die of tuber- 

[ 181 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


culobis during the soon-to-amve civil war which his 
protests failed to prevent, depriving the nation of the 
philosopher of the Restoration 

Saigo’s withdrawal left Yamagata fiee to go the 
whole way in building up an all-business “commoner” 
army The conflict with old samurai ideas was at once 
intensified until Yamatata as a final, ruthless stroke, 
after four months’ insistence obtained an edict abolish- 
ing the caste by making the wearing of the swords a 
criminal offense He had to fight to enforce it 

The samurai about Saigo, thirty thousand strong, 
committed Saigo to a campaign to “rescue the Sacred 
Person from the hands of craven oligarchs ” The Em- 
peror was visiting at the old capital Kyoto when the 
news came by Ito’s new telegraphs that Satsuma was 
in revolt A panic took the city Ito and a friend, 
Hayashi, took the just-completed railway to Osaka to 
inform Okubo, head of the government He amazed 
them by his silence as they sped back through the twi- 
light In the last analysis he was a Satsuma man him- 
self, they said in undertone to one another. He dis- 
missed them at the gate to the palace 

The next morning they stepped out of their inns to 
find the old capital placarded with an imperial edict out- 
lawing Saigo and ordering a punitive expedition under 
a royal prmce with Yamagata in field command. 
Okubo, by his drastic action, had forestalled talk of 
compromise, and had set Saigo’s old disciples and 
friends free to fight him m the Emperor’s name 

£182 3 



r^MAG\T\ AND ITO 

Yamagata moved his Kihetai south, reentorced 
them by conscription and led a vigorous offensive into 
Kiushu He sent a message to Saigo “It is unwillingly 
that I come against a master and friend But lo3'aIty 
to the Son of Heaven requires I believe it is your 
students who have forced your hand You will imder- 
stand me ” 

The “last of knights’ replied ‘ I understand you and 
approve of you Let us fight’” Modern military tac- 
tics and equipment were soon supreme over samurai 
bravery and picturesque coats of mail To prevent the 
exhibition of his head by the victors, Saigo entrusted 
one of his followers to cut it off and hide it m a straw 
stack (September, 1877) Yamagata did not cease 
pursuit until he had discovered the trophy and sent it 
back to his superiors Head-taking ceased to be a 
requisite pajrt of victory m Japan wnth this war 
Yamagata was generous in victory to the living, feed- 
mg and clothing prisoners as his own men He had 
proved his men and methods — ^established a new mili- 
tary caste and destroyed the old one It cost the life 
of Okubo, who was assassinated by irreconcilables, even 
as Lincoln, after he had granted amnesty 
Kido, Saigo, and Okubo, whose authority and rank 
had enabled them to put into effect the radical changes 
suggested in the reports of younger men, had now all 
gone tragically from the stage Japan was left in the 
hands of the second generation of her modems The 
issues, henceforth to be constitutionalism versus mili- 

[msj 



EMINENT ASIANS 

tary oligarcliy, were to be personified in Ito and 
Yamagata 


III 

Ito and other young Japanese upon first observation 
of Western countries gathered that national unity and 
strength sprang from expressed constitutional forms of 
government The ambition of the patriots for their 
country was nationalism — that new and not yet ques- 
tioned invention of Europe which was yet to be goal 
for young Indian, Chinese, Turk, Persian, and Egyp- 
tian patnots after Japan had led the way in Asia The 
young patnots used the unapprehended but vaguely 
qualm-stirnng call, “constitutionalism,” to prevent older 
Sat-Cho clansmen from brazenly substituting their 
domination in place of the Tokugawa’s JHowever, it 
was a weapon equally good against the existent thinly 
disguised oligarchy, and was promptly made the cry 
— sinceie, or disingenuous— of every opposition Al- 
ways it was based on the famous imperial oath, worded 
as it was partly to provide opportunity for Ito’s Occi- 
dental ideas and partly to placate the samurai with 
hope of sharing m “representative government ” 

The death of Kido, who was bold and yet sane, left 
Ito with the consaous loss of a balance-wheel This 
loss, the appropriation of his democratic platform by 
political rivals — ^Itagaki, of Tosa, and Okuma — the re- 
sponsibility and pride of high office and the necessity 

[ 184 ] 



Y'lMAGATA 4XD ITO 


of the ruling group to retain power — first law of politi- 
cal life and probably justified in such dangerous times 
— combined to turn Ito temporarily conserv'ative 
When, in full years, he was to revert to his early con- 
victions and openly declare for party democracy at 
home and nonaggression abroad he would find that he 
had played hopelessly into the hands of the alwaj^ 
consistently autocratic Yamagata Since he would 
never be cowardly nor resigned in temperament he 
would go forward inevitably to tragedy 
Yamagata, whose work, up to the Restoration, had 
been at home in building military power, had formed 
no early opinions regarding Western politics When 
he made his first rapid world survey from 1869 to 1871, 
however, he cast a shrewd eye upon its political as well 
as military systems Particularly in Germany did this 
''tall, slender, mihtary Onental.” quite a new t 3 rpe to 
Europeans, ask pertinent questions “Did Bismarck’s 
system leave the monarch absolute, the military xm- 
trammeled?” If so, it seemed good In the midst of 
the Disraeli-Gladstone struggle, British party govern- 
ment appeared fraught with unnecessary disturbance, 
and America presented to Yamagata’s appraising view 
the most undignified era of its pohtical history — ^the 
South a chaos from demagoguery and the federal gov- 
ernment passing from the petty contentions of John- 
son’s admmistration mto the scandals of Grant’s. “For 
the good of his country, Lincoln should have made him- 
self the dictator,” this Asian noted in his diary An- 

[185] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


other entry diverts us “Americans have no bridge to 
cross the Mississippi, their largest river’” Of course 
width of water had been no argument for bridging it 
in Japan, but the Asiatic expected of us consistency in 
modernity 

Yamagata came back convinced, m harmony with his 
character, that any representative or party system to 
be introduced in Japan must be thoroughly tamed to 
obey wise masters of the state Sir Harry Parkes, as a 
true Englishman, advised this young von Moltkian in 
their first conversation that the basis of a modern nation 
must be civil, not military, and commended to his sup- 
port the democratic tendencies of Ito and Okuma 
Parkes was unaware of what was happening to Ito’s 
principles at the time 

Yamagata sent for his lady, Komuko, and settled in 
Tokyo in a lattice- and paper-walled home with a minia- 
ture private park He was promptly summoned to 
audience with the Emperor His diary entry was, “How 
very young is the August Personage but how able to 
comprehend matters of state and information of inter- 
est to him It IS my duty to expend every ounce of 
strength m his service ” Yamagata had the Bismarck- 
lan sense of responsibility and reverence for the crown 
as an institution and m addition a personal liking and 
fatherly concern for its wearer He would have sacri- 
ficed his life and many another to save one hair of 
Mutsuhito’s head The young Emperor reciprocated 
his friendship, but in a shrewd way Conscious that 

r 186 ] 



Y‘^M\GAT\ 4XD ITO 

he had opportunity to be the first of his long line out- 
side the realm of myth to exercise decisive influence in 
the state, he trusted Yamagata’s honor implicitly but 
kept their lelations always formal Far differently did 
he react to the almost sacrilegiously informal Ito 
“Marshal Yamagata is my soldier, Marquis Ito is my 
drinking companion,” he was to remark 
Yamagata, occupying in succession the offices of vice- 
minister and minister of war, chief of staff and com- 
mandant of the imperial bodyguard — ^his creation — dic- 
tated Japan’s military development He stuck to the 
simpler French system, in spite of much criticism after 
France’s defeat by Prussia — for which the French 
government, in a typical gesture of amour propre, be- 
stowed on him a medal In two years he had won the 
civil war which put the new regime beyond challenge, 
abolished the clan armies by imperial rescript, located 
the country’s garrisons and defense works, established 
the Imperial Military Academy, and installed universal 
military training — m this adopting the German system 
Of course it was to be decades before funds, organiza- 
tion, and equipment were sufficient to call up all young 
men Establishment of the morale which must under- 
lie all the^c things was Yamagata’s easiest task The 
privilege of being soldiers, for centuries reserved to the 
haughty samurai, was eagerly grasped by the plebeian 
class to whom it meant social elevation And then there 
vws the universal burning desire of a spirited and 
Spartan people to prove itself second to none in the 

[ 187 ] 



EMINENT ASIMSrS 


world family to which it had been so abruptly annexed 
The most primitive critenon of national standing is of 
course military prowess 

To the popular mind the prime motive behind the 
suddenly introduced universal education could only be 
enhancement of the glory of Nihon Hence it was 
easy enough for Yamagata and his coterie to make pub- 
lic schools the ground step of their military system — 
preparatory institutions for military training, green- 
houses of Jingoism With such material and incentive 
Yamagata was within twenty yeais to compel the re- 
spect of that world which knows force as its convincing 
argument Because Japan had a Yamagata and Yama- 
gata had a Japan, his nation was able to save itself 
the indignities and interferences suffered by its Asian 
sisters, China and India Mustapha Kemal and his 
Turks were also to begin with military demonstration 
But in saving his nation, Yamagata was to steer it 
close to the reef of imperialism 

Two conditions Yamagata required which remain 
only dreams for most military builders absolute free- 
dom from interference by politicians and unstinted 
financial provision His fight to assure these took him 
into political life and his duel with Ito 

Jealousy of a Choshu man’s supremacy m the army 
and navy naturally grew in the other great nulitary clan 
of the Restoration, Satsuma Just then a wealthy con- 
tractor for the army, Wasuke, a veteran of Yamagata’s 
Kihetai, committed suicide His was one of the early 

[ 188 ] 



YAMAGATA AND ITO 

spectacular fortunes of the new Japan, founded upon a 
loan of five hundred gold pieces from Eado, and made 
by speculation in dollars and then purveying to the 
government He had recently been to France and fallen 
m love With a French girl On return he discovered 
a clerk had lost him 800,000 yen (8400,000) 

That Wasuke might get his business in shape to 
carry out arrangements for marriage to his French 
sweetheart who was to arrive shortly, Yamagata ad- 
vanced him that sum from army funds against the next 
year’s supplies A mmor clerk informed the Satsuma 
chiefs, who demanded an immediate audit Yamagata 
had to require the money back Wasuke pled with him 
to juggle the books but Yamagata refused He tned 
to satisfy the audit with a note but his Satsuma enemies 
demanded to see all the money in cold cash One mid- 
night Wasijke’s trusted assistant, later the wealthy 
Baron Fujita, called on Yamagata to plead for a last 
effort for his master, but Yamagata could do nothmg 
more At daybreak Wasuke committed harahn 
Many of the Choshu condemned Yamagata for aban- 
doning an old retainer The Satsuma on the other hand 
accused him of complicity in corruption The French 
girl arrived — to become a desolate figure weeping at 
Wasuke’s grave in a temple yard — and Yamagata be- 
came the object of indignation of the sentimental 
Japanese pubhc Between these fires, he resigned 
The army went badly This was before Satsuma re- 
belled, and it was Saigo the Greater who went to the 

[189] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


Emperor and had him summoned back But the navy 
was separated from the army and henceforth remained 
under Satsuma administration Both branches fared 
better, although the navy, lacking a Yamagata, lagged 
far behind the army up to the twentieth century At 
the outbreak of the war with China (1894), it was to 
consist of only twenty-eight ships, totaling 58,000 tons 
The great seafaring clan was satisfied, and Yamagata 
was relieved of its jealousy 

Ito, m the political field, was not so fortunate His 
return m 1873 from the fruitless treaty-revision mis- 
sions abroad definitely marked his entrance into the 
psychological rather than physical state called middle 
age Until this was past he was to remain cautious 
and take the easier way Then with the coming of 
what in ordinary men would be called old age, the 
veteran was again to become the bold and, if necessary, 
lone mnovator that the young knight had been 

Ito foimd Yamagata established as military autocrat, 
exerting immense mfiuence in the government Imme- 
diately made Councilor of State by the young Emperor, 
he first bent himself to forced cultivation of industry 
by government patronage, holding the post of Minister 
of Industry Then when Okubo left to negotiate the 
Formosan dispute with China he received the mantle 
of home ministry Failure promptly to initiate the 
representative institutions he once advocated gave op- 
portunity for frenzied agitation by men of foreign 
experience whom misfortune in not being bom in either 

[190] 



YAMAG^TA AND ITO 

dominant clan, Satsuma or Choshu, had barred from 
power Ito replied through imperial rescript, “The 
people are wanting in culture and intelligence sufficient 
for popular government,” as proved by the failure of 
the clan assembly Itagaki, Goto, and their fellows 
came back in a heated memorial, designating this as 
“shocking self-conceit and arrogant contempt of the 
people ” A refrain from the American Declaration was 
heard “The people, whose duty it is to pay taxes, pos- 
sess the light of sharing in government affairs, and of 
approving or condemning No representation, no 
taxation It is necessary to establish a council 
chamber chosen by the people,” they continued “The 
present government is neither by the throne nor by the 
people An infant knows that it cannot go on ” 

The controversy continued fifteen years Japan’s 
first great newspaper, Nicht Ntcht Shtmbun, or “Day 
by Day News,” was “made” by wisely taking the con- 
servative side where power and money lay Neither 
side knew nor cared to be pinned down as to just what 
It meant by “the people ” At the time of the imperial 
oath that term of course meant the samurai, com- 
moners not even being thought of in connection with 
pohtical rights But now the samurai prestige was 
fading fast, and Yamagata was taking plebeians into 
the new military caste This ambiguity, exploited by 
politicians, was to bring “citizenship,” still uncraved 
and undemanded, to the masses of Japan 
In 1874, the bold and conscientious attitude of Kido, 

[1911 



EMINENT ASIANS 


who had left the government over the Formosa expedi- 
tion, compelled Ito to arrange a conference at Osaka 
at which Okubo and he represented the “government ” 
The young statesman had the burden of outlining as 
basis of agreement between the two leaders a scheme 
for reorganizing the administration They accepted, 
but it was a hybrid, designed to keep liberals innocuous 
by stealing their fire — and yet to go no further than 
exigency required Henceforth Ito’s was the pathetic 
role of time-serving “official sponsor of democracy” 
on behalf of a group of oligarchs 
The Satsuma rebellion distracted attention for several 
yeais Upon Okubo ’s assassination in 1878, Ito took 
the controlling posts of President of the Cabmet, and 
Minister of Home Affairs, with Inouye as his faithful 
lieutenant Okuma, doing amazing things with gov- 
ernment finance, but feeling that the Satspma-Choshu 
dominance restricted his career, resorted to the political 
weapon of scandal, the effect of which he had doubtless 
observed in Western bodies-pohtic Using “inside in- 
formation” gained as treasury chief, he revealed the 
tremendous dishonesty that had marked the develop- 
ment of Hokkaido, the “frontier” northern island, and 
the scheme to sell the government investment of ten 
rmllion yen for a few hundred thousand to an intimate 
of the oligarchy named Kuroda Mobs stormed the 
government offices in Tokyo Okuma was the hero of 
the populace In 1881, to confirm himself as their 

[192] 



YAMAGATA AND ITO 


champion and test his power, he made a demand for 
the establishment of a parliament in 1883 

Ito, backed by the Heavenly Ruler’s prestige, re- 
plied by conventional fire-stealing “We hereby de- 
clare,” read the edict published within twenty-four 
hours, “that We shall, in the twenty-third year of Meiji 
(1890) establish a parliament, m order to carry mto 
full effect the determination We have announced, and 
We charge Our faithful servants bearing Our commis- 
sions to make in the meantime, all necessary 
preparations to that end We perceive that the ten- 
dency of Our people is to advance too rapidly, and 
without that thought and consideration which alone can 
make progress enduring, and We warn Our subjects 
high and low to be mindful of Our will, and that those 
who may advocate sudden and violent changes, thus dis- 
turbing the. peace of Our realm, will fall under Our 
displeasure ” 

Okuma had to get out of the cabinet Ito had won 
a victory in person but not in pnnciple Rather he had 
been forced into a place where he stood for nothing 
Itagaki and other opponents attacked his government 
so unrelentingly that he was dnven to resort to police 
repression which forced five hundred outstanding 
liberals from Tokyo and compelled the papers to en- 
gage “jail editors” to work out recumng sentences 

In February, 1882, he went to Europe oflBcially to 
study constitutional forms He had conversations with 

[193] 



EMINENT ASIMSTS 


Bismarck The German combination of divine right 
dogma with practical politics seemed to him to fit 
Japan’s case He went on to St Petersburg to attend 
the coronation of Alexander III The first evidence of 
the deep influence Germany had upon him was the 
abolition, shoitly after his return in August, of the 
“Flowery Families” and the establishment of a Prus- 
sian-type nobility of five ranks, m which he and Yama- 
gata ranked as counts, two steps below the princedom, 
then reserved to royal blood and one below the “old 
statesmen” of the Restoration There had to be a live 
nobility, explained Ito, so that Parliament could have 
a House of Peers He was thinking of forms, more 
than of democracy 

He found it necessary to take Yamagata, and Kuroda 
the scandal-tainted, into collaboration m the 1882 
memorial to the Emperor which outlined his proposed 
constitution. He was at once made Minister of the 
Imperial Household that he might draft the basic law 
of the land in the Emperor’s bedchamber, so to speak, 
safe from political interference or liberal suggestion 
The newspapers were warned that neither criticisms nor 
surmises would be tolerated while the work went on 
His fellows on the drafting committee were Inouye, Ito 
Myozi, and Kaneko, a Yamagata henchman 

The yoimg Emperor frequently dropped m to the 
drafting room where work on the constitution went 
forward His intelligent mterest was interpreted to the 
worshipful public in pious bulletins which gave the 

[194] 



YAMAG\T\ -■Ys'D ITO 

impression that the document issued from the lips of 
the Sacred Person himself In all these things Ito 
allowed himself to be pushed forward by his own fear 
of placing machinery of government m the hands of 
irresponsible elements and by the cool determination 
of Yamagata The idealist m him was forgotten for 
a time — ^by himself and those with whom he dealt — 
under stress of making the government “go ’’ It was 
to revi\e, in a manner annoying to his fellow oligarchs 
and tragic to himself Japan’s father of the constitu- 
tion compares illy at this time with Amenca’s — or with 
old Stein of Germany, -yrhom Ito, in such a different 
spirit, claimed to follow 

Ito was however, following Kido’s old objectives, 
peace and concentration on problems at home He 
was beginning to see, too, how foreign embroilment 
would put X^magata and the military in complete dom- 
inance He left the sacred enclosure wnthm the moat 
m Tokyo to spend February to April, 1885, in Tientsin 
conciliating the spoiled Li Hung-chang over a clash of 
interests in Korea Yamagata accepted the resultant 
treaty and calmly told his followers to get ready for 
war On Ito’s return he prepared to put the consti- 
tution into effect by replaang the council of state with 
a German-style cabmet of which he took the presidency, 
issuing ordmances defining the duties of mmisters of 
government 

Another exposure of official corruption followed by 
demands of the liberals for “Cabinet responsibihty to 

L19S] 



EillNENT ASIANS 


Parliament” forced Ito to push forward one year the 
date for promulgation of the constitution 

Although the document itself was thoroughly reac- 
tionary, its true effect would come more from its inter- 
pretation than its text, and the first government under 
the constitution would set the precedent for that With 
a caution characteristic but, it would seem, hardly nec- 
essary in view of Ito’s drift, Yamagata planned that 
Ito should not head the government The soldier, who 
had been again briefly to Europe to “check up” on 
forms adapted to Ito’s constitution, mistrusted Ito’s 
conservatism — ^possibly feared that his complacency m 
drawing such a reactionary mstrument might have been 
mixed with a sly intention to counterbalance it by a 
liberal application Therefore Yamagata suggested to 
the Emperor that Ito’s great work must be rewarded by 
nothing less than the greatest honor of the kipgdom — 
that of president of the Emperor’s privy council pro- 
vided for in the new document Delighted to honor 
his friend and brmg him into closer intimacy, Mutsuhito 
acceded and Ito found himself withdrawn, m a cloud 
of glory, from the arena which he had set 
It was a strategy yet to become commonplace Ito 
doubtless felt relieved although he could not but resent 
the way he had been manipulated He, champion of 
democracy, did not care to face the storm which would 
break from liberals on seemg the mstrument he had 
drawn up He had a bit of sardonic revenge on Yama- 
gata There remained no one else strong enough to 

[ 196 ] 



Y4M\G\TA AXD ITO 

face the inevitable, and the soldier had to do what 
must have galled him — turn politician and take the 
prime ministership of the first government under the 
constitution Yamagata had once said, “One who can- 
not read a red [that is English] telegram should not 
head the ministry ” However, he kept up to date on 
world affairs through the aid of private translators 
Viscount Kaneko was to draw a lively picture of the 
fifty-one-year-old general impatiently awaiting his 
henchman’s arrival from London and receiving him 
with a wry smile and peremptory demand for instruc- 
tion on parliamentary procedure while he held under 
his arm Ito’s new published Commentaries on the Con- 
stitution 

The long-awaited document was endorsed by the 
privy council and ratified by the “Throne, source of all 
change,”, and promulgated with elaborate ntual on 
February 11, 18S9, before high officials only and 
members of the diplomatic corps in full regalia — a 
poor birth ceremony for democracy' All radical 
papers had been suspended in advance and others 
warned The date was mandated a national holiday, 
Kigemetsu 

The day of the publication of his handiwork was 
one of anticlimax for Ito A chronological error m the 
young Emperor’s speech, misdating by two days his 
promise of 1881, provided, Japanese-fashion, opportu- 
nity for those who wished to humiliate the father of 
the constitution Restrained from commenting on any- 

[ 197 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


thing of importance, the newspapers devoted pages to 
the “shocking incident ” As head councilor, respon- 
sible for the Emperor’s utterances, and the loss of pres- 
tige mvolved m the Infallible One’s inexactness, Ito 
had to resign But Mutsuhito, bigger than tradition, 
good-naturedly bid him think less of trifles and carry 
on, and the furor was automatically hushed 

The Heavenly Ruler having spoken, the constitu- 
tion could not be opposed, but Itagaki, and Okuma 
(who had for some time been playing m with Ito and 
was fully aware of the document’s content) headed 
an indignant opposition against the government Elec- 
tions m December filled the fimt House of Representa- 
tives with unorganized protesters expressing resentment 
by disorder and opposition Ito took the presidency 
of the upper house and organized that as a support 
of the oligarchy By military mtimidation and bribery 
Yamagata got his budget through the first TParliament, 
but weakened by temporizing m his Cabinet, he had 
the Emperor dissolve the second Parliament and re- 
signed in disgust A Satsuma man, Matsukata, then 
undertook the premiership The lower house demanded 
that Premier and Cabinet be responsible to it, British 
fashion The constitution was ambiguous on this point 
but Ito, its drafter, for the sake of efficiency and the 
power of his clan oligarchy was compelled to interpret 
it as making the government entirely independent of 
Parliament and responsible solely to the Emperor — 
meaning the oligarchs of the privy council, whose inner 

[ 198 ] 



Y\M\G\T\ AXD ITO 


group still only middle aged, came to be called, some- 
U'hat satincaily Genro^ or “Elder Statesmen ” 

Okuma. maintaining his activity as a “corruption 
sleuth,” accused Inouye, who, of course, was in the 
Cabinet, of venality in connection with the great trad- 
ing and shipping house of !Mitsm The charge was 
easily enough made, most of the oligarchs and their 
retainers as well as the imperial household havung ac- 
cumulated fortunes through connection with the gov- 
ernment-sponsored firms of either Mitsui or Mitsubushi 
But it was hardly gracious of Okuma, who had multi- 
plied his wealth through connection with the govern- 
ment, to make cause of the custom of the time The 
oligarchs and their opposition were at this time known 
by the significant names of Koshtn and Sosht, that is, 
the ‘Distinguished Persons” and the “Enterpnsmg 
Persons”— ^a sly Onental circumlocution for the “ins” 
and the “outs ” 

The attack on his faithful Inouye drove Ito unre- 
servedly into the reactionary camp Where loyalty 
to fellow and clan conflicted with idealism the latter 
had to go, and that is the characteristic of Pacific Asians 
The choice was final determinant of the tragedy of Ito 

Askmg the Emperor to put Yamagata in his place 
in the pnvy counal, Ito himself took the ministry in 
1892, determined to down Okuma and the more ad- 
mirable but not less irritating Itagaki, even though such 
accomplishment should stunt for decades the growth 
of the tender plant, democracy The lower house of 

[199] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


Parliament, filled with Itagaki and Okuma men, stiff- 
ened m responsive anger When Inouye, stating that 
Ito was ill, got up to read the Prime Minister’s opening 
address for him, the House refused to receive it, and 
forced Inouye from the rostrum by hubbub, showing 
that it was an apt imitator of some older legislative 
bodies Yamagata put in a heavy military budget, en- 
joying the situation of Ito’s having to support it The 
House threw the bill aside, drew up an impeachment 
address to the Emperor, and adjourned for eighteen 
days Ito went to Mutsuhito In three days the Em- 
peror’s legislators were summoned back like naughty 
school boys, read an imperial rescnpt commanding the 
Cabinet to proceed with its policy without fear of an- 
noyance, endorsing the budget with the Chinese proverb 
that ‘‘a single day’s neglect may bring a century’s 
regret,” and setting a good example by donating three 
hundred thousand yen yearly for six years to the army 
and navy from the Emperor’s privy purse The climax 
was an imperial order that the holy example be followed 
by all military and civil officials to the extent of dona- 
tion of one tenth of their meager salanes to the treas- 
ury Members of Parliament drawing about fifty cents 
a day, and put to election expenses greater than their 
total salaries, paid with the rest Ito’s sense of humor 
did not make him popular with the housewives of of- 
ficials at pay-check time^ 

Scandals centering about Hoshi, Mark Hanna of 
Japan until he fell by an assassin’s dagger, gave the 

[ 200 ] 



YAM^G^TA AXD ITO 

next opportunity for attack on Ito’s oligarchy Itagaki, 
Goto, and Okuina who had begun to organize political 
parties combined forces m the next Parliament and 
impeached the Cabinet to the Throne Ito calmly 
finished off what democratic pretension might cling to 
the constitution in the imperial reply ‘‘The appoint- 
ment and renio\al of ministers of state is absolutely 
at the will of the sovereign and no interference wnll be 
allowed in this matter The ^Minister President and 
his Cabinet are bidden to retain their posts ” But 
demociacy in Japan w'as tenacious if not virile Party 
chiefs bow’ed before this dictum but did not accept it, 
and Ito was yet to be on their side 
Ito was negotiating with Great Britain for the aboli- 
tion of the treaty restrictions on sovereignty over aliens 
and customs tariffs — considered by all Japanese as in- 
dignities “slipped over on them” by the wily Western 
Powers in the Tokugawa da>s of ignorance of inter- 
national comity Inouye, as Foreign Minister, had in 
his opera bouffe way, encouraged Tokyoites m the 
winter of 1866-7 to believe that if they imitated the 
British sufficiently the unequal treaties would be abol- 
ished There had followed an orgy of dressing in coats 
and trousers, Japanese-foreign social mixing — even tak- 
ing up of Western dancing and the suggestion that 
English be substituted for the national tongue When 
the British government remained unmoved about the 
treaties, the reaction brought about anti-foreign riots, 
earnest return to native customs, a police ban on danc- 

[ 201 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


mg, to be frequently revived, and one of Inouye’s dis- 
gusted resignations Ito had wrecked later negotiations 
by Okuma — this was too bright a feathei for a poli- 
tician’s cap to be allowed to go to a rival Now Parlia- 
ment tried to embarrass Ito’s negotiations by demanding 
retaliatory measures against the Powers Ito suspended 
Parliament by imperial rescript 

Elections again Great harshness and repression of 
speech failed to prevent the selection of a thoroughly 
hostile House Its first act was another impeachment 
to the Throne When the memorial went to the Em- 
peror through the usual channels it was refused The 
president of the House then personally took it to the 
household department He was summoned next day 
and told “We shall not adopt the views contained in 
the address A written communication will not be made 
to it ” He was then handed a rescript in -a single 
sentence dissolving Pailiament A newspaper came 
out with a black border of mourning and was promptly 
suppressed 

Mutsuhito had stood by his friend Ito, using the 
Heavenly Ruler’s piestige, was tnumphant over his 
enemies But how badly he had defeated his own 
soul' He had made a constitution, its chief innovation 
a Parliament which for three successive sessions he 
himself was compelled to dissolve 

Ito had unusual ideas about domestic as well as im- 
perial government When his son Bunkichi was five, 
he sent the child to a private school near his own old 

[ 202 3 



Y-\M\G\TA ITO 

haunts of Hagi and Yamaguchi to be raised in ig- 
norance of his parentage until middle school age Each 
one has his particular genius, he livas to tell the lad, 
some ha\ e genius for but a humble lot, and life in accord 
therewith is a success and not to be deplored, if it in- 
clude loyalt}’ to the Emperor There was a younger 
son, Shiuichi, and two daughters the first and last born 
But he made the son of Inouje the heir of his name 
and title — the greatest tribute a man can offer his 
friend Ito was always gallant and a little supercilious 
toward wmmen, never (m consequence^) compelled to 
be lonely for them, and never giving them a major 
place in his interest Of his faithful Umeko he was 
always proud, like a true Japanese gentleman of the 
old school, m an impersonal sort of a way If Ito made 
himself, no pretense to what the West calls fidelity, he 
did not offend the prejudices of that day and soaety, 
and found happiness m his family 

Yamagata was flourishing Having used Ito to get 
his army equipped, he was ready for war A marked 
change had come in his household Alwmys fond of the 
scintillating geisha dancers, a very good performer of 
the classic No dance himself, Yamagata had some years 
earlier taken into his home an intelligent and artistic 
geisha named Sadako, a Tokyo girl, daughter of one 
Yoshida Thus Yamagata, who could be so cool at 
affairs, pandered the streak of romanticism in him 
With assent, or at least acquiescence, of Kokvmo, be 
enjoyed Sadako as his concubine He was one of the 

[203 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


last of the great men of Japan to appropriate the 
privilege of concubinage, about this time officially abol- 
ished In 1893 his quiet Kokumo, with whom his rela- 
tions had been very sweet, although lacking intellectual 
and playful companionship, died To the surprise of 
his “set” he married the geisha as his “full” wife But 
in his loves as in his political life, Yamagata paused 
httle before outside opposition Sadako was to prove 
very devoted and satisfying to him After the tradi- 
tion of women of her nation, she was to put up serenely 
with his humors, although she was to write wistfully 
in her diary “Prince is very quick-tempered — at least 
so at home Especially when he is running a war’” 
For Sadako herself, marriage was to be a slow process 
toward social recognition, in which she was to pioneer 
the way for many girls of her class yet to marry into 
Japan’s new aristocracy 

Ito had opposed the spirit of challenge to China over 
Korea, and between 1888 and 1903 had found time in 
his busy, variable career to cross the straits of Tsushima 
ten times in endeavors to preserve the balance between 
Japan and China in Korea in harmony with his 1885 
convention with Li Himg-chang Now Yamagata, act- 
ing as Minister of Justice in Ito’s cabinet for the pur- 
pose of lending it strength against the politicians, re- 
signed, announcing “fundamental differences with the 
Minister President ” Ito reciprocated the honor Yama- 
gata brought upon him some years before by havmg 
his military peer made president of the privy counal 

[204] 



Y4MAG4TA AND ITO 

But this failed to quiet the gaunt soldier Ito, threat- 
ened vnth attack from ‘‘behind the curtain” in addition 
to an increased storm from below accepted the war 
policy It was his final betrayal of his principles But 
as a rescue from immediate troubles it had electncal 
effect 

Gray leaders, then young clerks and retainers, now 
tell a pretty anecdote of this time When the Chinese 
were driven from Port Arthur, Ito was in Tokyo The 
dispatch reached him and Yamagata at the same hour 
— at night Yamagata carefully dressed himself in 
court uniform and decorations and proceeded to the 
sacred enclosure within the gray walls and moat, cere- 
moniously to inform the August Person Ito simply 
put on a greatcoat over his mght-kimono and dashed 
off to share the jubilation with his imperial friend 
Mutsuhito , At the gate he was stopped “No one 
enters here in a night dress,” the guard politely but 
firmly informed him “ — But I am Ito, the councilor.” 
“We cannot make an exception You may wait here 
while we send in for instructions ” 

Word went to the Sacred Person that Marquis Ito 
was at the palace gate in night dress “Bring him to 
the audience hall,” was the command “And bring me 
a mght dress just like the one he is wearing ” Soon 
he was receivmg Ito in a garb which set both at ease 
The goods news demanded celebration While they 
were drinking sake, the page announced General Yama- 
gata, on an official call “He will have to wait,” com- 

[ 205 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 

manded the Emperor ‘‘To receive him I must don 
ceremonial dress ” 

The government removed to Hiroshima, on the con- 
tinental side of Japan, and here a suddenly docile 
Paihament, exulting in the nation’s opportunity to dem- 
onstrate its new-born power, gave Ito everything which 
Yamagata, through him, demanded, to prosecute the 
war Factionalism and democratic agitation alike dis- 
appeared under the magic touch of Mars 

The inevitable reaction came upon Ito’s head Yama- 
gata, the soldier, and his generals had won victories 
everywhere and received only plaudits But Ito, the 
government, received the mob’s unthinking anger for 
stopping the triumphal progress before China was 
“rolled up like a curtain,” suffered its resentment 
against increased taxes now required by the same 
Yamagata to maintain the enlarged war rpacfaine (for 
one victory requires another, and Russia was in the 
offing), and its hysterical curses when prudence com- 
pelled return of half the friuts of victory m the face 
of sudden mterference by Germany, France, and Russia 
Men who made attempts on Ito’s life were heroized 
by the public He was embarrassed by a “patriot’s” 
stabbing of the ancient Li Hung-chang, arriving under 
sanctity of truce to negotiate the treaty He had to 
repress his people ruthlessly, which m turn they called 
his reward of them for sacrificing too unstmtingly 
through the wari The Emperor was unfailingly stead- 
fast and sympathetic He elevated Ito and Yamagata 

[ 206 ] 



Y43I\G4T\ ASJ> ITO 

to rank ot IMarqms and bestowed tbe highest Order 
of the Chrysanthemum But the only true appreciation 
of the lonely man’s state of mind came from the ivlin- 
ister of Foreign Affairs of Belgium whose friendship 
with Ito made on his European tra\els, showed a strain 
of true affection ‘ You have sacrificed your name and 
career to save 3 our country The extent of your coun- 
trymen’s misipteipretation of you is the extent of your 
honor ” 

Out the Tokaido line on the “Outside Sea” (Pacific 
Ocean) was the old-fashioned fishing \illage of Oiso 
Ito, seeking a retreat, built there his “Villa of Blue 
Waves ” It really included two mam buildings, one 
foreign, one Japanese, looking altogether, says his sec- 
retary, “like a country post office,” although convenient 
and sumptuous within He scorned the “retinue hke 
a clan locd’^” indulged in by many officials of the time, 
keeping only two pages for the gate and some house- 
maids He almost lived in an upper room at a long 
table bearing Japanese and English books — ^poetryy 
Napoleonana, and a miscellaneous armload on current 
events representing his latest visit to the IMaruzen book 
store, the London Tttnes, Contempoi ary Revtew, North 
American Revtew, and Graphic — piles of letters of- 
ficial and personal, stationery, Chinese writing brushes 
and American fountain pens, his latest acqmsitions 
in swords, several cigar boxes, the slender, vaselike 
porcelain sake bottle with thimble-size drmkmg bowls, 
and, three times a day, a tray of food Every one had 

[ 207 3 



EMINENT ASIANS 


to see him here, except princes of the blood and for- 
eigners, whom he did the special courtesy of taking to 
the reception room He gave interviews from early 
morning until late in the afternoon, usually on a Jap- 
anese pickled plum and a cup of tea, but occasionally 
with a Bntish breakfast of ham and eggs For his 
afternoon and evening meals, he customarily ate “Jap- 
anese,” the delicious-appearing but palate-disappoint- 
ing bowls of raw fish cubes, sea weed, and bean curd 
His one gastronomic indulgence was s’kiyakt of wild 
boar (cooked on the table over braziers) which he 
pretended “gave courage ” In drinking he had mod- 
erated the custom of his younger days, but still occa- 
sionally showed a capacity that astonished his juniors 
More than a decade later a young general (of forty 
or so) was to tell how after a night of it Ito set off on 
foot at such a pace he had to hire a rickshaw^takeep up 

When friends remarked on the unnecessary diligence 
with which he investigated everything to which his sanc- 
tion was asked, he replied “It is because the Emperor 
relies so trustfully on my opmion I shall be fully 
responsible for the imperial assent no matter how 
trifling the matter ” 

In a room near his den was a bed and a couch He 
used to say that he rested better “hard,” but had so 
frequently to go abroad that he installed the bed to 
keep in practice As a matter of fact he compromised 
between the clean “hard” tatamt of his ancestors and 

[208 ] 



YAM4GATA /\ND ITO 

Western springs and mattress by sleeping usually on 
the couch Lady Ito fluttered in and out like a butterfly 
and occasionally ventured to remonstrate when he in- 
dulged too hotly m argument with his secretaries — an 
intervention which invariably caused him to plunge m 
the harder He was gentlemanly to her, and, on the 
whole, Ignored her 

Officials and plutocrats flocked to Oiso in Ito’s tram 
and It became a fashionable watering place But the 
man who made it could often be seen in sockless feet 
shod in geta, and old kimono, loitering about its little 
shops, or swapping yams with fishermen among their 
boats down by the beach 

Within view was Yamagata’s less pretentious, more 
artistic, purely Japanese villa He lived in a household 
ordered according to military regimen, and enjoyed 
companionsiiip of both passion and intellect with 
Sadako “As the war with China loomed,” Sadako 
relates, “the pnnces were tens of times a day going 
and coming to one another’s studies Every tram from 
Tokyo brought a score of officials to interview them 
both Frequently they conferred all night, and I would 
see their figures through the shop (opaque paper panels) 
sitting upright like statues of husht (the old stoic war- 
nom) against the light Even when they had sake 
brought in the good manners were surprisingly notice- 
able she remembers with wifely commendation 
Yamagata worked long hours too, but more sys- 
[ 209 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


tematically than Ito He always arose at seven, washed 
in cold water regardless of temperature, and drank sev- 
eral cups of tea Later he would breakfast on bread 
and milk Vegetables and fish, Japanese style, were 
his lunch, but except when attacks of dyspepsia and 
rheumatism were acute, he allowed himself European 
food for dinner Since his youth he had partaken 
sparingly of sake, but he drank two cups of vermouth 
before retiring He was very fond of sweets Some- 
while a cigar fiend, he took later to cigarettes, using 
two packages of the vile Japanese government-monop- 
oly product a day He was a great reader, taking joy 
out of thorough reading whereas Ito nibbled for bril- 
liant excerpts or passages affecting his work He never 
mastered English as did Ito but with the help of trans- 
lators kept up with leading English and German publi- 
cations 

Utterly lackmg Ito’s joviality, and seldom smiling, 
Yamagata, however, exercised consideration and a 
paternal responsibility with his sternness His avoca- 
tions were writing the miniature Japanese poems on 
nature, fate, love, or martial courage — ^many of which 
became nationally popular — ^brush painting, the classic 
gesture-dancing for which natural lightness and grace 
of movement fitted him, and singing of the dramatic 
librettos — yoktoku Whereas Ito collected swords of 
all countnes, Yamagata characteristically specialized in 
Japanese weapons — ^the samurai weapons which he had 
abolished! 


1210] 



Y\M\G\TA AND ITO 

Occasionally the two rivals played chess Yamagata 
x^as always good, Ito always bad — but eager to accept 
another challenge 

Yamagata preferred to work in the army as in poli- 
tics — from behind the curtain — and pushed Oyama 
fonvard to the rank of Marshal However, in view of 
the political msecmity at home he considered initial 
success in the war vith China so important that he 
personally led the first division against the Chinese in 
Korea When he reached Antung on the great Yalu 
river, border of Manchuria, he fell ill of his chronic 
bowel trouble but remained, commanding from his cot 
The Emperor, worried, sent a general to see him with 
the ad\ice to take a little wine each day Yamagata 
replied that there were many sick and wounded sol- 
diers who could not have wine, so he would do without 
The army surgeons said that for him to remain at the 
front was to imperil his life He insisted that he would 
stay and take the nsk like any common soldier But 
the return of IHutsuhito’s emissary was followed by an 
imperial mandate to turn over field command and re- 
turn at once, which he had to obey At the port of 
Ujina he was welcomed by soldiers and populace with 
wild demonstrations People, remarked a politician, 
began to say “the Japanese army of Yamagata” more 
often than “Yamagata of the Japanese army ” 

Ito’s pro-Russian tendencies caused the sending of 
Yamagata to represent the Emperor at the coronation 
of Czar Nicholas, but he proved greatly mferior to Ito 

[ 211 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


as a negotiator His convention over Korea and Man- 
churia was all Russia’s way Possibly Yamagata cared 
little, in any case He was planning to settle that issue 
by direct action His self-confidence and determina- 
tion were amazing m view of his physical health On 
the ship home, his catarrh of the stomach aggravated 
by seasickness, he was told that he would die “If I 
do,” he commanded, “bury me at sea ” 

By a rescript amending the constitution, issued dur- 
ing the war excitement, Yamagata had freed the mili- 
tary entirely from parliamentaiy interference and put 
himself in a position to wreck any cabinet that would 
not meet his wishes The ministers of war and navy 
must henceforth be high ranking officers Yamagata 
had both control over rank and the fealty of the men 
who bore it He could prevent any prime minister from 
filling these posts and filling a cabinet lie had now 
gamed the end he had quietly set himself twenty-five 
years before There was a slight struggle with Ito over 
whether Japan’s empire — it had begim with the acqm- 
sition of Formosa in this war — ^was to be controlled 
by the civil or military branch of the government 
Yamagata won, of course Territorial governors would 
be part of the military oligarchy 

Yamagata had made Japan into a duarchy, a two- 
faced monster whose formal government could pledge 
one thing and whose mihtary could do the exact op- 
posite, as China and the Western Powers were to dis- 
cover during the World War His sincere aim was to 

[ 212 ] 



y4:m\g\.t\ \nd ito 


make Japan lespected But he \^as to make her mis- 
tiusted and stigmatized 

Ito had let himself be pushed out of his convictions 
For what seemed the good of his country he had turned 
upon and crushed his own causes But he had only 
got the contumely of his people and been degraded 
into the tool of his rival The soul of him was ready 
to revolt 

The first election after the war filled the House of 
Representatives with anothei vituperative mob, en- 
couraged to attack him the more freely because of his 
universal unpopularity He could rely on the Emperor, 
but a too frequent use of such arbitrary power would 
undermine the prestige of even the Son of Heaven, 
and Ito was too loyal for that Anyhow, he had de- 
cided to promote instead of longer thwart party govern- 
ment So he suddenly allied with the Jiyuto (“Liberal 
Party”) of Itagaki, whom he had secretly admired for 
unswerving constancy to the democratic ideal although 
it had brought no office Ito openly proclaimed that 
he would base the government upon political party 
support 

The oligarchs were affronted and the House of Peers, 
formerly Ito’s strength, turned obstructive, blocking all 
legislation Yamagata, shocked and hostile, actually 
denounced Ito to the Emperor Ito resigned, sardon- 
ically recommending Yamagata to Mutsuhito as his 
successor 

It was 1896 For four years and a month, including 

[213] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


the period of the nation’s first foreign war, Ito had 
headed the government — the longest administration 
since the establishment ot the constitution He had 
negotiated the abolition of the early treaties infringing 
on Japan’s sovereignty, steered the nation through the 
grave crisis of the Russo-German-French ultimatum, 
started it toward recognition as a world Power and nego- 
tiated Its first acquisition of empire Ito’s record ap- 
peared a triumph, but before his own soul he had failed 
He had let himself be carried into divergent paths 
And so he was torn asunder 

The ex-Mimster President and the prince of the 
blood, Arisugawa, who had ranked as commander 
against the Satsuma rebellion, went as emissaries to 
attend Queen Victoria’s jubilee Ito sailed up the 
Thames, uniformed and bedecked, surrounded by at- 
tendants, greeted by the Queen’s noblemen, a^ military 
parade and a band But his hosts found him a bit 
absent-minded — thinking of two shanghaied, starved 
sailor lads who had come up that river and not been 
allowed to land (for no country is so cold to the un- 
known and so cordial to the celebrated as England) 
But Ito, squatting on the deck of a sailing boat, caked 
in filth, red from the blows of the bosun’s mate, high 
with hopes and idealism, had been at peace with him- 
self — happy. . . . 


[ 214 ] 



Y\M\G\TA AND ITO 


IV 

Yamagata passed the honor of the premiership on 
to Matsukata, who to assure passage of his budget — 
the one thing which the oligarchy ever needed fiom 
Parliament — had to take Okuma as finance minister 
The oligarchs were forced to admit dependence upon 
his political faction The press, which had become 
important and was largely conservative, attacked the 
government with charges of bnber3’- m the elections, 
a spoils system in connection with paity support, and 
appalling military brutality and corruption in Formosa 
Okuma, after his habit of executing coups, resigned 
The cabmet dissolved the diet and quit The Em- 
peror, alarmed, personally thrust his trusted Ito again 
into the breach (January, 1900) How honors that 
men will struggle for may become a burden to them* 
Okuma and Itagaki imited parties to fight him in 
Parliament They attacked the ‘ Satsuma-Choshu clan 
government” as “no better than the Tokugawa ” Ito 
asked the Emperor for a rescript limiting the session 
to twenty days Then he went before the Genro in 
meeting and proposed the definite necessity of Cabinet 
alliance with the majority party of the lower house 
Yamagata bent forward among the offended oli- 
garchs, like a lean gray hawk “You propose pohdcal 
party government?” he asked 
All eyes were fixed on Ito, the Emperor’s in puzzled 
questionmg “It has become obvious that political 

C215J 



EMINENT ASIANS 


parties must have a place m modern government,” the 
Minister President replied Yamagata’s long figure 
drew to full height He saluted and bowed deeply to 
the Emperor “When you framed the constitution,” 
he said to Ito in his low, staccato voice, “you placed 
ultimate sanction m the Throne, not m demagogues and 
mobs I remain loyal to the Throne I shall not per- 
mit you to violate your constitution ” 

Ito answered with an astonishing coup Bearing his 
seal of office to the Emperor, he asked Mutsuhito in 
the name of their sacred friendship to appoint his deadly 
rivals, Okuma and Itagaki, to head the government 
At last the long-suppressed romantic spirit in him had 
asserted itself 

These demagogues were taken utterly unawares 
Their combination was but five days old and their 
forces were still unorganized But they coul^’.t appear 
before the country as having clamored for party gov- 
ernment for years, and then declined when asked to 
head it So in Jime the first “party administration” 
m Japanese history was inaugurated Ito, uncompro- 
mised now by connection with the militarists at home, 
sailed for China to renew his efforts for peace on the 
continent 

Yamagata watched his opportunity to destroy this — 
to him — ^bastard thing which Ito had brought into 
power Ozaki Yukio, a slight, earnest man combining 
the qualities of student, demagogue, and journalist who 
was given the ministry of j'ustice, walked right into the 

[ 216 ] 



Y\MAG\TA AND ITO 

trap Speaking, with characteristic contortions of his 
tiny face, against -Realth in high places, he said Even 
in America ivhere the plutocracy is all poiserful, the peo- 
ple do not elect a millionaire to the presidency, whereas 
if Japan were a republic, the people would be sure to 
place the richest man in office ” Immediately the mili- 
taiy' organization \ociferously accused Ozaki and the 
entire cabinet of desire to overthrow^ the Heavenly 
Ruler and make Japan a republic £ese majestef 
Treason' Saciilege' 

Amid popular furor, Okuma’s cabinet fell, and 
Yamagata had himself and a cabinet of military men 
gazetted in eight days — ^before Ito, rushing back from 
China, could arrive to advise Mutsuhito Then Yama- 
gata, who always applied ‘ practical” methods to poh- 
tics, bought Okuma’s party away from its chief and 
made it his own by offering its leaders through the 
unscrupulous Hoshi, “amnesty” and jobs Okunia 
could no longer provide spoils Certainly it was wise 
to go over to the winning side! 

By reckless bnbery, involving the Tokyo tramways 
in scandal, Yamagata’s party whip, Hoshi, contrived to 
get his enormous budgets — in preparation for the Rus- 
sian war — through the House. Ito set forth to make a 
speaking tour of Japan in favor of party government 
It was the first important appeal to the only possible 
weapon against the military oligarchy public opinion 
Yet when the Chinese Boxer outbreak involved Japan, 
Ito threw all his support to Yamagata through the 

[ 217 ] 



EMINENT ASIWS 

crisis, sitting once more with him in council through 
many nights at Oiso 

This over, Hoshi, the double-crosser, came to Ito 
complaining that his party was sick of being the tool of 
the military and would turn against the government if 
Ito would lead it Thus far he had not affiliated with 
any one party Now he went this last step on condi- 
tion that the party would unquestionmgly follow his 
direction Even yet his aristocratic soul shrank from 
the possibility of being jockeyed into too radical a 
leadership Even Okuma and Itagaki pledged alle- 
giance It seemed that the man worthy to lead the 
crusade to democracy, and a party (to be called the 
Seiyukai) sufficient to carry it through, had at last been 
brought together 

Ito’s speech inaugurating the party still evidenced, 
however, a privy-councilor mentality Cabijiets, he 
said, must be responsible to the Emperor and parties 
must not be obstructive Ito had to be loyal to his 
Emperor and his Satsuma-Choshu fellow clansmen In 
action he was willing to go much further than word 
His party council of twelve was dubbed by the press 
“The Twelve xApostles ” All of its members were des- 
tined to attain fame or notoriety 

Yamagata, his budgets passed, resigned in the face 
of Seiyukai opposition Ito was hesitant about taking 
the premiership No one else dared to, with Ito con- 
trolling the lower house Mutsuhito talked with Yama- 
gata, who promised not to obstruct Ito, and the ad- 

[ 218 ] 



yAM\GA.T\ .\XD ITO 

ministration that uas to be Ito s last adventure as the 
head of government began 
Ito owed his place to the corrupt Hoshi Like Presi- 
dent Harding, he made the mistake of being grateful 
to rascals who supported him He put Hoshi m his 
cabinet There ’res a popular outcry against the un- 
blushing crook Ito transterred him to the position of 
Parliament whip It did not greatly help The House 
of Peers offended at Ito’s party affiliations, refused to 
pass his budget 

Yamagata had promised not to obstruct Ito He 
vient further than that He helped him get his budget 
through by having the Emperor issue a rescript simply 
commanding the peers to pass it They were furious 
at the indignity which of course they attributed to Ito 
Meeting m angry silence they voted in blanket all the 
bills that had been or might be sent them This was 
to stand as the most ruthless, underhanded coup of 
Yamagata’s career — unless he really can be charged 
with arranging Ito’s death 

Ito could not throw a shadow over the face of 
his friend the Emperor Mutsuhito, by denial or re- 
taliation Self-restrained and tragic, he petitioned 
the Emperor to stiip him of all his titles Mutsu- 
hito of course refused But the rest of his life Ito 
spoke of himself as plain Hirobumi — “the stranger 
from afar” 

Playing the old game of “turn-about,” Ito asked 
Mutsuhito to appoint Yamagata Premier. The old sol- 

[ 219 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


dier side-stepped and bad the post offered again to Ito 
and Inouye to humiliate both his friend and the office, 
and then put it on a little known lieutenant Katsura, 
who turned out to be surprisingly capable Ito once 
more went abroad — to be honored with the degree of 
LL D at the Yale centennial celebration 

From America he crossed to England, where Premier 
Salisbury gave a reception for him on his estate in 
Hatfield After the event Prince Ito remarked to an 
aide “I think Lord Salisbury will soon resign ” This 
was a live subject in British politics and Ito was be- 
sieged as to what the Prime Minister had told of his 
plans 

“Not a word,” replied Ito “But his daughter, gmd- 
ing me to a painting of Prince Bismarck, commented 
that the German statesman’s last years were pathetic 
because he did not resign his post when th^ Emperor 
whose confidence he enjoyed passed away She told 
me this story unintentionally, but Queen Victoria, whose 
confidence her father particularly enjoyed, has recently 
passed away Lord Salisbury will retire ” The ob- 
servant Japanese was correct Salisbury soon stepped 
aside and was succeeded by Balfour 

Yamagata favored a military alliance with Great 
Britain, the value of which to both nations had become 
evident m their anxiety of the steady spread of Rus- 
sian influence in China British aid toward the uplift- 
ing of Japan had indeed, from the very beginning, been 
dictated by the desire of creating a check to her funda- 

[ 220 ] 



Y\MA.G\T\ AND ITO 

mental rival, Russia in the Orient Always looking at 
European politics through German eyes, Ito labored 
Russia, and he didn’t -Rant war which would fasten the 
octopus of militansm more firmly on his people “On 
his own’ he rushed to St Petersburg in a vain en- 
deavor to get Russia to offer as attractive terms as the 
British “Yamagatas Cabinet” disavowed official 
status to his visit Only Mutsuhito remained loyal, and 
on impenal insistence Katsura had to dispatch the final 
amendments to the Anglo- Japanese treaty by special 
messenger to St Petersburg, for Ito’s perusal 

The die was cast With Ito it was always “my coun- 
try right or wrong,” once the issue came to that He 
returned to compel his party to support the military 
budget Okuma furiously accused him of having taken 
the chieftaincy of liberalism only to betray it Ito had 
furthernaore offended other rough and ready party 
bosses by 'openly disapproving their methods in the 
recent election campaign, in the course of which Hoshi 
had been murdered Ozaki led a revolt in Ito’s party 
Yamagata saw that the time was ripe he had Ito again 
elevated into the privy council Thus Ito’s political 
party connection ended The headship of the Seiyukai 
was passed on to Saionji — a scion of the Impenal House 
who had captured the popular imagination by returning 
soon after the Restoration from school in France to 
start a paper advocating a republic — quickly closed at 
imperial suggestion The Saionji family furthermore 
was thought romantic because for generations it had 

[ 221 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


observed its founder’s vow of celibacy (barring wives, 
but not concubines) 

As in her China conflict, Japan attacked, and after 
the surprised Russians had been taken at disadvantage, 
came the formal declaration of war (February 10, 
1904) Again Yamagata was made chief of the gen- 
eral staff and commissariat He remained in Tokyo, 
directing from the Emperor’s side A prime require- 
ment of his strategy was the extension of military con- 
trol over the Korean government, accomplished through 
the venal Korean Prime Minister Li Yamagata made 
capital of Ito’s reputation as an anti-imperialist by 
dispatching Ito to reassure the aroused Koreans At 
the close of the war Ito was made the first resident- 
general, and he took the post hoping to be able to 
prevent complete annexation, while Yamagata wished 
to use him as a stepping stone to that very accomplish- 
ment He was ironically compelled to ^advise the 
Koreans to submit quietly to the military administra- 
tion lest worse things befall them They could not 
understand his attitude To them he was the agent-in- 
chief of conquest They stoned his railway car, crash- 
ing the glass of his window, which severely cut his head 
^ Yamagata understood Ito well He had never re- 
garded Ito as a competitor Jealousy was not in his 
nature He had admired Ito’s talents, personally liked 
him, been pleased to see him advance He held Ito 
to be good at argument but weak of will and danger- 
ously visionary Unrelentingly he compelled the apph- 

[ 222 ] 



YAM\G^TA ASB ITO 

cation of Ito’s talents to further the nation on what he 
saw to be its path to greatness 

Ito did not grasp Yamagata’s sincerity He took 
Yamagata’s interference to be inspired by personal 
rivalry’- In such a contest Ito felt that he possessed 
every advantage intimacy with the Emperor, ability 
as a public speaker, a personality which appealed to 
the public imagination, intimacy with Western civiliza- 
tion, and wider acquaintanceship at home Yet Yama- 
gata, popularly regarded as unapproachable, unable to 
speak five minutes in public or make his voice heard 
the length of the Parliament chamber, won every bout 
Ito alternated between active resentment and discour- 
aged acceptance 

Yamagata hid behind his soidiei’s uniform, made 
samurai sternness and aloofness bases of public confi- 
dence, and through unfailing constancy to his “boys” 
built up a select personal following that he could rely 
upon Obedient loyalty of men like Katsura, Kodama, 
Tanaka, Eaura, Hirata, Oura, Matsuoka, and other sol- 
diers, industrialists, and scholars was the secret of his 
strength Only one was to flout him, Katsura, and 
that one would be punished, surely and terribly 

Yamagata was not sullen and inconsiderate as many 
thought His henchman Kaneko relates his sudden de- 
parture on alleged business from American Ambassador 
Mutsu’s summer home in Watergap, West Virginia, 
when he discovered that Mutsu was overtasng his frail 
body in hospitality But he was exclusive and hard to 

[ 223 I 



EMINENT ASIANS 


reach The newspapermen got few appointments with 
him and were careful to ‘‘sew on all their buttons” 
before going When he did see them he was disarm- 
ingly gracious and wholesome and to the point So he 
carried more weight in the press than the informal, 
voluble, somewhat cynical Ito Yamagata was a good 
listener, and men said they left his piesence “like a 
squeezed lemon ” He had a way of making young 
men “his” for life Ito dispatched young Kaneko to 
Hokkaido to report on administration in the northern 
island He was invited to show his report to Yamagata 
“A fine report,” the soldier commended “No one could 
have made such an analysis but you'” Forty years 
later Kaneko would quote this with pride 
At his most venerable and powerful period the army 
chief was to dress in full uniform and “practice up” 
an interpreter for an hour in preparation lor a brief 
interview with an American newspaperman The young 
liberal leader Tsurumi brought from the South Seas a 
box of rare and prized mangoes for notables of the 
capital, and remarked that the great Yamagata was the 
only recipient to acknowledge the gift He was as 
punctilious in courtesy as he was thorough in work 
• When President Roosevelt’s proposal for a peace con- 
ference came direct to the Emperor, Yamagata, sitting 
in council, determined acceptance He went personally 
to Mukden to discuss the terms with his field marshal, 
Oyama The Emperor loved Ito, and it was with some 
regret that he was compelled to work rather with the 

[ 224 ] 



YAMA.GATA AND ITO 

man who was motivating the nation m the path of its 
destiny After plenipotentiary Komura had literally 
tricked Count Witte into signing peace in Roosevelt’s 
summer retreat at little Portsmouth New Hampshire 
(for the Czars instructions were not to end the war 
but to gain time), Mutsuhito gave a dinner for the 
statesmen and commanders who had contributed to vic- 
tory With smooth chin and military mustaches Yama- 
gata flanked the imperial seat. Ito, m a shaggy goatee, 
faced It across the table Suddenly, in excess of feeling, 
the sixty-five-year-old author of the constitution, using, 
proposed a toast and three banzai (‘‘ten thousand 
longevities”) to the Emperor, carrying the guests with 
him, but leaving them quite aghast at his breach of 
ceremony Doubtless it was the highest spot of the 
function for the Sacred Person Soon after the Em- 
peror’s banquet, Yamagata and Ito were elevated to 
the highest rank open to nonroyal blood, with the titles 
of “Prince ” 

Ito proceeded to the shrine of the Virgin of Ise, 
where the ancestors of the Emperor back to Amaterasu 
(Daughter of the Sun) are enshrined, and offered 
thanks for his country’s victory His religion was the 
patriotic pantheism into which he and his peers had 
transformed the old animistic Shinto It required the 
stoicism and loyalty of the hushi combined with “divine 
right” doctrine glorified by evangelical ardor It was 
a religion of “good example” on the part of Ito, Yama- 
gata, and the elders of the nation Ito’s inner religion 

[ 225 ] 



EaUNENT ASIANS 


was really the Confucian xmiversalism He was thus 
able to regard both Buddhism and Christianity with 
S3anpathetic approval 

There was a popular storm against the peace Why 
had not Russia been made to pay for the war, instead 
of Japanese taxpayers who had already given their 
sons^ Why had Japan not annexed all of Manchuria, 
and Siberia as far as Lake Baikal? A mob, locked out 
of the Hibya Park, Tokyo’s central plaza, crashed the 
iron fence, burned police boxes throughout the city, 
and pillaged the homes of cabinet ministers Peace 
delegate Komura had to return from his triumph by 
way of a tiny outport, to dodge assassins Yamagata 
was strong enough to take the responsibility He put 
Tokyo and other cities under martial law and controlled 
them with his troops The Emperor issued a rescript 
saying that everything had been done according to the 
pleasure of the Sacred Will 

However, the military government stepped out and 
allowed Saionji’s Seiyukai party to take over, but any 
illusion that democracy had at last won was soon to be 
dispelled At elections the Seiyukai triumph set a 
record, which was merely signal for Yamagata skillfully 
to wreck their cabinet As first move, his son, included 
as Seiyukai Minister of Communications, demanded an 
excessive sum for railways The Minister of Finance, 
fearmg the Yamagatan name, offered a compromise 
Ito’s old friend Inouye, also in the cabinet, whose im- 
pulsiveness was planned on by Yamagata, fiercely con- 

[ 226 ] 



Y\MAGAT\ AND ITO 

demned the compromise, and Saionji’s government was 
so tom he gladly accepted Yamagata’s offer of promo- 
tion to the privy council Then all the ministers’ resig- 
nations were accepted excepting those of Yamagata, 
Junior, and the treasury chief, the railway matter was 
promptly postponed, and Yamagata’s mihtanst disciple 
Katsura took the government 

The public ■were told that Saionji had given up head- 
ship of the government because of ill health Ito, over 
on the continent endeavoring to reconcile the Koreans 
to the loss of their sovereignty, issued a manifesto re- 
vealing the truth of the intrigue The military were 
perturbed He would go to such lengths' He was 
growing less doale and discreet with age Even though 
he were Japan’s senior statesman, it might be necessary 
to put him out of the way 

Yamagjita and Katsura were ready to annex Korea. 
Ito came forward with a system of division of authority 
between Japanese and Koreans It was decried by the 
military Ito, they decided, must be eased out of re- 
sponsibility in Korea 

During July, 1907, the alarmed Korean Emperor sent 
an emissary to plead his case at The Hague In treaties 
with America, European powers, and Japan, the integ- 
rity of Korea had been guaranteed Japan had made 
sacred declarations upon entering her wars with both 
China and Russia that her aim was to preserve the 
sovereignty of Korea Now the military received as- 
surances from President Roosevelt and governments of 

[ 227 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


the other Powers that these treaties would be ignored 
But airing of the matter at The Hague might prove 
unfortunate It was understood that Western govern- 
ments frequently repudiated little private understand- 
ings under the pressure of publicity So, by bribeiy 
and threats, an internal crisis was brought about in 
Seoul, and the king was forced to abdicate to a pro- 
tectorate headed by the traitor-pnme-mimster, Li 
When the king’s emissary reached The Hague, he was 
representmg no one 

Korean feeling ran high and was directed particu- 
larly against Ito, the official representative of the 
aggressor nation — ^who was personally innocent and 
helpless An abdication ceremony was arranged par- 
ticularly to impress the foreign plenipotentiaries Ito’s 
staff strongly opposed his attendance in person A 
dozen desperate plots existed to take his li^e on that 
day He sat in the resident-general’s office greatly 
troubled A telephone message arrived from the throne 
room announcing that everything was ready Ito asked 
himself if he, who so many times had risked his life, 
was cnnging? True, it was easy to die fighting for 
one’s own cause This situation required the greater 
courage to step out and take the coimterblow for an 
attack he had not inspired, to be cursed for crimes he 
would have prevented, to be made a hero-martyr m a 
cause he detested, to take upon himself the retribution 
for the sms of his nation Bushido, the spirit of the 
samurai, resurged with him He arose and wiped the 

[ 228 ] 



YAMAGATA AND ITO 

perspiration from his broad, furrowed face “I will go 
under any consideration'” he announced to his aides 
Miraculously he escaped that day, but henceforth he 
accounted himself dead His struggle was over He 
knew his fate, and he awaited it stoically 

In June, 1909, Ito was removed from Korea by the 
old expedient of making him president of the privy 
council A Yamagata man, Sone, succeeded The an- 
nexation scheme was put before the diet, convened in 
strict secrecy For a huge consideration to himself 
and possible objectors — including a refuge in Japan 
which he expected to need — the prime minister of Korea 
was ready to present a formal request to the Japanese 
Emperor to take over the government of his coxmtry 
There remained the question of Mutsuhito’s sanction 
and that, they knew, would be withheld if Ito so re- 
quested ^^Then, of course, some overt act of provoca- 
tion was needed to precipitate the coup 

Ito was doing what he could to obviate hostility 
between the two peoples He had toured with the 
new Korean king through Korea, making conciliatory 
speeches to the people, and now he took the Korean 
Prince Li about Japan, making thirty lectures in twenty- 
four days Yamagata applauded the work He en- 
couraged a similar good-will tour of Manchuria 

Ito, knowing well that he was being sent out of the 
way, planned the tour Then he went for a few days' 
visit to his villa in Oiso His secretary overheard an 
after-dinner discourse to his son, Bunkichi, later to be 

[ 229] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


Baron “My boy, you are now a graduate of the uni- 
versity and a man At this instant I would like to 
impress upon your mind the word ‘loyalty’ and nothing 
else I like to believe that the summary of my more 
than fifty years of official life is ‘loyalty to the Em- 
peior ’ Our country cannot expect to flourish unless it 
is governed by this spirit, binding its people in com- 
plete muon Should any member of the house of Ito 
lack in this loyal spirit, let him not be considered my 
descendant I should be willing to see my sons suffer 
and be penniless but I cannot sanction any departure 
from the spirit of loyalty in the family of Ito forever ” 
Then he called in the village fishermen whom in 
former days he had frequently invited to his gardens, 
and filled them up once more with noodles and sake 
Some years before, he had started each school child m 
the village on the way to fortune with a bank account 
of ten sen He now gave the children a fete and in- 
quired as to the state of their deposits, adding to those 
accounts which showed thrift He formally thanked 
the scrupulous little Lady Ito for her care of himself 
and his household and told her that this journey, his 
thirtieth across the channel, would not be protracted 
En route to Shimmoseki port, his tram passed the school 
children of Yanaitsu village, marshaled in military 
formation to salute him He handed their head master 
a hundred yen bill with which to start postal savings 
accounts for the children Ito’s secretary, Furuya, on 
visiting the village four years later, was to find that the 

[ 230 ] 



YAM4G4TA AND ITO 

five hundred children had built up accounts aggregating 
3j200 yen The prince’s gift they were keeping m a 
separate account, which totaled 127 yen 

Sixty-mne years old, with the vigor of a man of forty, 
squat and a bit stout, wearing his bushy goatee, white 
hairs alternating with black topping the kindliest face 
in the world, Ito stepped on to the continent of Asia 
TWth a “Life” of Peter the Great under his arm At 
the Sino-Russian city of Harbin he detrained to review 
some Russian troops at nine-thirty o’clock on the morn- 
ing of October 24, 1909 A wild-looking Korean 
dashed unhindered to his side and fired a pistol into his 
abdomen “Bakaf" — Fool — exclaimed Ito in a low 
voice, and sank to the ground The assassin turned and 
wounded his secretary Mon, the consul-general Kawa- 
kami, and the director of the South Manchurian Rail- 
way, Tanaka, eventually to be known as “Yamagata’s 
last disciple ” 

Ito was carried aboard the train Thirty minutes 
later, repeating a poem of Oda Nobunaga, forerunner 
of the Hideyoshi he had as a child emulated, he died 

Life IS short , the world is a mere dream to the idle 
Only the fool fears death, for what is there of life that does 
not die once, sooner or later? 

Man has to die once only, 

He should make his death glorious 

“He should make his death glorious ” Sent out of the 
way by a rival — shot down by a mad assassin’ 

[231] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


One madman’s bullet provided removal of the ob- 
struction to a final move against Korea, and the provo- 
cation to take it 

There were those who said, softly in their inner cham- 
bers, that the Japanese military party had hired An- 
jukon, the assassin Yamagata had been finding Ito 
increasingly difficult to manage Yet it is hard to 
accuse him of going to such an extreme against his 
schoolmate of Yoshida Shorn ’s academy One prefers 
to believe that he just let matters take then course The 
charge that Prince Ito was insufficiently guarded was 
never satisfactorily answered If, when Yamagata saw 
Ito off for Korea, he expected not to meet him again, 
his steely old heart had softened into remorseful appre- 
hension, for he anxiously awaited the end of Ito’s jour- 
ney, and was shocked and broken when the corrected 
message apprised him of its denouement 
Ito’s body was brought home on a cruiser and he 
was given state funeral on November 4 Field Marshal 
Prince Yamagata, seventy-two years of age, tall and 
straight with sparse white hair, face long, emaaated and 
of a dyspeptic pallor, was, after Emperor Mutsuhito 
himself, chief mourner Newspapermen, who were very 
hostile, looked for some betrayal of exultation on his 
part The old soldier’s only remark was “I am alone 
now Prince Ito was the only man with whom I could 
discuss state matters as an equal ” 

Ito’s estate proved small He had not very well exer- 
cised the thrift he sedulously taught children Neither 

[ 232 ] 



YAMAGATA AND ITO 

had he, after the fashion of the time, built him a for- 
tune from political prestige During the crisis precipi- 
tated with Korea by Ito’s death, Yamagata held a 
special troop review at Utsonomiya It was attended 
by the Emperor and all the high officials and com- 
manded by the veteran Marshal himself The Em- 
peror had, as vantage point, a little tent on a hillock 
which proved utterly inadequate to protect the Sacred 
Person from a drenching in the violent storm which 
arose Inasmuch as the troops were not equipped with 
greatcoats, the Emperor declined to put one on, saying 
that, on such occasions, he was one of his men Just 
as the listening reporters were drafting telegrams about 
this on their soaked writing pads. Marshal Yamagata 
strolled up the hillock in a greatcoat, comfortable and 
dry There was triumphant excitement among the 
newspapermen who had been watching keenly to “get 
something on” the old autocrat Here were a selfish- 
ness and discourtesy bordering on lese majestS The 
people of Japan would conclude that Yamagata was 
making himself greater than the Emperor The tide 
of indignation would sweep him from power' They 
bent themselves to wnte stories which would stir a 
nation and upset a dictator 

They dispatched their runners with their articles 
Then one reporter ventured to approach the chamber- 
lain in attendance “Is it not time you called this to 
the attention of the Son of Heaven?”— pomtmg out 
Yamagata’s garment The chamberlain, evidently con- 

[ 233 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


cemed, said he would mention it A bit later he re- 
turned to the reporters’ stand “The Heavenly Person 
deigns to explain that Marshal Yamagata is wealing 
the greatcoat against the Marshal’s protest but at the 
express command of the Emperor, who desires that he 
should have this special protection as a mark of Im- 
perial affection for his venerable body, and as a special 
honor before the army m recognition of his great work 
m creating it The Emperor [who was then fifty-eight, 
and was not long for this world] chooses to regard 
Marshal Prince Yamagata as his father ” 

The flabbergasted reporters raced for their offices to 
instruct their editors to change the attacks into encomi- 
ums Elaborations of Mutsuhito’s signal honor to 
Yamagata with resumes of the old soldier’s fifty years 
of public life covered pages 

The Korean matter was soon accomplished Resi- 
dent General Sone gave way to Teiauchi, Yamagata’s 
most ruthless disciple, who had been Minister of War 
since 1902 In August, 1910, the annexation was an- 
nounced The young Koreans struggled desperately 
for several years, and the sympathetic American mis- 
sionaries were accused by Japanese military of inciting 
them But Terauchi crushed opposition with terrorism 
and sp 3 ang 

Yamagata had completed his broad foundation for 
Japanese empire He had captained Japan to the ac- 
quisition of Formosa, Liaotung (Port Arthur) peninsula, 
Korea, and the Russian built South-Manchurian Rail- 

[ 234] 



YAMAGATA AND ITO 

way The great entry avenue to Japan’s continental 
empire, leading from the best equipped port in Asia 
to the circular heart of the great city of Dairen, properly 
received the name Yamagata-dori Dairen, third in 
port tonnage in continental Pacific Asia, becomes the 
type of a new, capitalized, industrialized, skyscraper- 
proud, machine-powerful Japan 
Yamagata had a typically Asian idea of “democracy ” 
He favoied elective assemblies as a means whereby 
people might keep in touch with governors — that the 
latter might better provide for their needs and direct 
their growth Represented majorities, controlling and 
unmaking administrations, were beyond his conception 
His government was that modification of Eastern tradi- 
tion by Western importation so absurdly called “re- 
publican” in Turkey, China, and elsewhere Political 
party rule was to him positively immoral To prevent 
it he encouraged a multitude of little parties, which he 
could coalesce for passing budgets and promptly dis- 
perse again He inspired the restriction on public gath- 
erings, organization, speech, and press, finally devel- 
oped into blanket suppression of anything disliked by 
the police under the charge of “dangerous thoughts ” 
With Ito gone and Yamagata’s ideas to combat, the 
Seiyukai became first an opportunistic group serving 
any government, then for a time a purely obstructive 
mob opposing every government But as surely as 
Yamagata, however indestructible he seemed, had yet 
to release the helm, so suiely the party leaders would 

[ 235 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


have their day Demos would then suffei at the betiay- 
mg hands of politicians instead of under the repressive 
heel of autocracy 

In 1913 Mutsuhito died He had been the Emperor 
of the Restoration of Japan to world dignity as well as 
of the Throne to supremacy His nearly half-century 
reign had seen the complete reshaping of his nation’s 
life and the setting of an example soon to be followed 
by the rest of Asia His people deified him not only 
because he symbolized such accomplishment but because 
he had been wise and lovable His son, taking the 
throne as Taisho, was not a strong character Yama- 
gata was left more than ever the chancellor of the realm 

Sadako, no longer the girlish geisha, but alert of 
body and mind as ever, made a record of a sensational 
incident connected with the Emperor’s passing 

General Nogi called on Prince Yamagata We were living 
at Shinzan Mansion, Tokyo The Prince was wearing a loose 
bath kimono when he learned the General was at the gate, 
and sent at once for a hakama [ceremonial skirt] without 
which he deemed it a discourtesy to receive any one, even 
his most intimate friends But before he could complete tying 
this on, the General came impetuously into the room 

“You do not look well,” exclaimed the Prince, startled by 
his drawn face General Nogi passed it off, but reached out 
from where he squatted on the guest mat and drew a box 
of paper, brush, and mk-slab to his side “I have been com- 
posing a poem,” he said and wrote out a hokku [seventeen 
syllable immature stanza] 

When he went out he dropped it on the mk-box The 
Prince picked it up and read it, and mui mured “To read 

[236] 



YAMAGATA AND ITO 

between the lines of this, I think he must die ” He handed 
it to me with the comment “Here, Nogi composed such a 
queer poem Keep this carefully ” It read “Yearning for 
our Great Emperor who passed away from this empty world, 
I have prepared to him a speaal prayer ” 

It was not signed, so I asked Prince to note something on 
it whereby we could identify it He wrote ‘ Nogi’s Poem” 
on an envelope in which it has since been kept All through 
supper the Prince was very troubled over General Nogi [Nogi 
had been one of his most taithful and brilliant commanders 
He and Admiral Togo were the popular heros of the Russian 
war ] 

A week later, on the night of the Imperial funeral procession 
(September 13, 1912), the Prince returned home quite late, and 
came to me in agitation saying “Nogi is done ” Stupidly I 
asked, “Who killed him'*” “No,” replied the Prince, slowly, 
“he committed haraktn at the first gun of the cortege start- 
ing When he was writing the poem I nearly said to him 
T see death on you ’ It is better that I did not speak ” That 
night he retired very broken and disheartened 

The old autocrat was not, however, too broken to 
take advantage of the succession to conduct what he 
regarded as a desirable bit of strategy Katsura, under 
Yamagata's protection, had waxed powerful and too 
rich and too independent He had shown his ambitions 
by having himself, when Prime Mmister, given the title 
of Prince He was on a pleasure trip in Europe when 
Mutsuhito died, and rushed back with political ambi- 
tions, to find himself recipient of an appointment, dated 
on the very day of his arrival, to an office Yamagata 
had invented for the occasion Court Chamberlam and 
Keeper of the Pnvy Seal Katsura had to accept and 

[ 237 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


announce that he had stepped out of politics to devote 
his life to the young Emperor Yamagata then asked 
the Cabinet, again heeded by Saionji, for two more 
army divisions for Korea Saionji and his party balked, 
whereupon Yamagata forced the fall of the administra- 
tion by withdrawing his henchman who was Minister 
of War and prohibiting any other general from taking 
the post 

There was a storm of popular indignation which 
Katsura thought to capitalize Boldly making use of 
his position as Keeper of the Privy Seal, he issued in 
the imperial name a rescript relieving himself from 
household service because of the “gieat necessity” for 
his services as premier, and imperially summoning a 
general to serve as war minister Yamagata had not 
reckoned on such daring To protect the impenal 
authority he told his uncomfortable officer to ^erve, and 
sat back to watch Katsura make a cabinet and win 
control in the lower house 

Katsura, too long Yamagata’s fellow-Choshu mili- 
tarist, had no sympathy from the democratic elements 
The only weapon he possessed against the prestige of 
the genro and military was money He set out to do 
a complete job Determined not to be checked by an 
obstreperous Parliament, he founded a party of his own 
to control it, and openly offered two thousand yen for 
each “ordinary” M P of the other parties who would 
swmg over to his — ^fifteen thousand yen for those known 
as orators The established parties were mfunated 

[238 ] 



Y4M4G4TA AND ITO 

Katsura got his majority but an exasperated populace 
mobbed and dispersed it Yamagata, controlling the 
army and police, would give no protection Broken 
politically, financially, and physically, Katsura stepped 
out, and within a year he was dead, while the seventy- 
six-year-old autocrat, without a smile, set Japan’s politi- 
cal house in order again It was evident that Yamagata 
would not, like Bismarck, pass from the stage with the 
monarch he had helped to establish Somewhat dis- 
graced by this internecine fight, however, Choshu 
yielded for a time to Satsuma and General Yamamoto 
of that clan took the premiership The navy benefited 
in consequence, enjoying its greatest period of ex- 
pansion 

Yamagata and Sadako moved out to a secluded villa 
at Odawara But it was the old Prince, when the World 
War came on, who dictated Japan’s entry through the 
opening in the much-modified Anglo- Japanese treaty 
It was he who placed m power Okuma, who did not see 
liberalism and chauvinism as incompatible, on the com- 
promise that the policies of the military would be sup- 
ported Yamagata authorized the reduction of German 
Tsingtao, the invasion of Chmese Shantung Odawara 
came to be called “the hidden capital” of Japan Here 
he worshiped the Meiji Emperor, on each imperial anni- 
versary, in a specially built pavilion The winter Prince 
Yamagata was eighty-two was especially severe, but he 
went out In three inches of snow and performed the cere- 
monial ablutions The result was pneumonia, and 

[ 239 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


Emperor Taisho's sending his personal physician to 
bnng the aged marshal through There came a mys- 
terious “Imperial House matter” on which the news- 
papers, not daring to publish details, attacked Yama- 
gata as “traitor to the Imperial House ” It seems that 
he denounced a royal marriage into his old rival clan, 
the Satsuma Yamagata told his fellow genro, Mat- 
sukata and Saionji, that he would remain of the same 
opinion forever, but would resign all honors Against 
their protests he did so, but the Emperor returned his 
resignation with the advice that the offense was over- 
looked because of his sincere heart 
Not until the Twenty-one Demands on China, and 
their face-losing denouement for Japan, does it appear 
that the grasp of the old samuiai was weakening and his 
Jingo disciples were ruiming away with the bit The 
unskilled bluntness of this attack on China’s sover- 
eignty and the unblushing diplomatic deceit used to 
cover it, in exasperating the disunited Chinese, irritat- 
ing Western Powers, and strengthening liberalism at 
home, are not in keeping with Yamagata’s accomplish- 
ments Or was it because he did not have Ito to velvet- 
glove the mailed fist for him^ 

This mistake gave party government its first real 
chance in Japan The journalist Hara reorganized the 
Seiyukai, and made himself the first plebeian party- 
chief premier of the country He headed a Cabinet 
backed by the new industrial plutocracy, which was 
disappointed with the poor returns from the mihtary 

[ 240 ] 



YAMAGATA AND ITO 


ventures in China and Siberia Yamagata could not 
lord it over Hara Yet the plebeian premier conferred 
most respectfully with the scholarly, eighty-year-old 
oligarch on the cool mats and under the perfumed pines 
of Odawara In 1921 Kara was assassinated by a 
young ‘‘parlor chauvinist,” gone fanatic, who thought 
he would duplicate for his party and Emperor the bene- 
fits of the elimination of Ito Yamagata saw no ad- 
vantage this time Tools of such sharpness must rarely 
be used, and according to a master plan The news 
excited him to the point of fever but he insisted upon 
going to Tokyo at once When assurance came that the 
younger men were keeping their heads and carr3ang on, 
he consented to go to bed instead 

He did not rise again But at eighty-four, dyspeptic 
and rheumatic, he could still hold death at bay with 
his tremendous will He was concerned over the evi- 
dences that a creeping disease was incapacitating the 
Emperor mentally The intelligent Empress was acting 
as imperial mind Yamagata sent for the tutors of 
the heir apparent, then approaching manhood, and 
questioned them carefully They convinced him of the 
Prince’s soundness and ability “It is well,” he said, 
and stopped fighting 

As with Sun Yat-sen, he was ill so long that he be- 
came a myth. “Is the Ancient Marshal still ahve, or 
dead?” people would ask one another in the market- 
place All visitors were denied him “But one morn- 
ing,” says Sadako, “he heard that Prince Matsukata 

[241] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


had come Matsukata was one of his few living ties 
with his generation ‘I want to see him’’ demanded 
the Prmce Approaching the bedside, Prince Matsu- 
kata, who was by now deaf and spoke in the loud voice 
so frequently adopted by the hard of hearing, shouted 
‘How are you? Be courageous and feel strong,’ to 
which Prince Yamagata replied with a smile ‘You are 
always healthy and it’s good for you ' ’ Matsukata said 
‘As soon as you get through with this, let’s do our best 
again m state affairs,’ and the two octogenarians nodded 
at one another ” 

After Matsukata left, the old prince called m his 
family “Y oroshiku ” — “best regards” — ^was his mili- 
tary farewell “Thank you for your many kindnesses ” 
Then he stretched out his arm and took Sadako’s hand, 
and ceased to breathe It was February 1, 1922, and 
the old soldier was eighty-five His death was kept 
secret and the corpse conveyed to Tokyo before the 
announcement was made A national funeral was given 
him which cost eighty thousand yen Radicals in the 
diet fulminated against the expense 

He left a simple family Kokumo had been child- 
less — ^which to the most puritanical Japanese would 
have justified his takmg a concubine, but was not likely 
the motive thereof He had adopted his sister’s son as 
heir Then Sadafco bore him two sons and two daugh- 
ters As was so often done in Japan, Yamagata made 
his own son heir of another house In late life, he 
changed his own heir, choosing his favorite grandson, 

[ 242 ] 



YAMAGATA AND ITO 

son of his surviving daughter and Baron Hunakoshi of 
the plutocratic Mitsui family, who was to bear the title 
of Baron Yamagata One of the Pnnce’s grandsons, 
connected with a Japanese bank in New York, a kindly, 
broad six-footer, inherited at least some of his famous 
ancestor’s traits, for he was gracious enough and reti- 
cent enough silently to listen through a young Ameri- 
can’s lecture on the life of his grandfather before the 
Japan Society there 

Upon Ito’s assassination Yamagata had taken the 
Presidency of the Privy Council and he retamed it until 
death This oligarchy was hardly to survive him In 
a month Okuma, who had come into the group from 
his compromise cabinet of 1915, followed his old rival, 
and Matsukata lived only two years more Saionji, 
at heart the liberal and Ito-ite, petitioned the Emperor 
to let the mstitution of the genro die with him 

At the time this is being written piime ministers are 
chosen for the Emperor no longer by the president of 
the Privy Council, but by the very Lord High Chamber- 
lain whose office seemed a joke when Yamagata created 
It The important thing is that invariably the leader 
of the majority party is being selected Party gov- 
ernment IS accepted Universal manhood suffrage has 
come Japan is evolving toward a Bntish parha- 
mentary system and the national conception of the 
Throne is changing under a new young Emperor who 
has been abroad and played golf with the Prmce of 
Wales It is a democratically tending new Japan, and 

[2431 



EMINENT ASIANS 


yet it IS as surely the continuance of Yamagata’s Japan 
as republican Germany is of Bismarck’s Prussia 

Yamagata the silent plowed a straight furrow to a 
definite objective He achieved in his tremendous span 
of activity a personal success, without setback or de- 
feat at the end, unrivaled, I believe, by nation-builders 
From the standpoint of “hardboiled,” practical. Machi- 
avellian statesmanship, his was one of the greatest 
careers ever lived But to him it was not “SuccflEs ” It 
was just a job accomplished There was no streak of 
vanity in him 

“He was brought up in a stern tradition He never 
smiled, except among his closest intimates He was 
sensitive to influence and yet never allowed himself to 
be swerved from his aim Loyalty to Emperor, army, 
and nation was his makeup He was not conceited but 
he felt perfectly sufficient in himself He was a man 
taught to talk with actions, and to spend no time ex- 
plaining himself — In Japan we had this typet” con- 
cluded a grizzled ex-samurai with a tone of assurance 
and also regret to his American listener who seemed a 
bit unable to grasp Bushtdo over the tea-cups 

Soldiers are for fighting — 

Good wine is to drink 

Yamagata had written on the last photograph which 
he signed 

Present Japan hates hrni and ideahzes Ito When I 
first made known my intention in that country of writ- 

[ 244 ] 



YAMAGATA AND ITO 

ing the military Prince’s life I was besieged by editorSj 
cml officials, liberals, students, and even some army 
men to give to the Western world Ito instead Then I 
found I must write on both, for either is an enigma 
alone, and Japan, without comprehension of their half- 
century duel, IS not understandable 

Nothing could stand against Yamagata except the 
strong new force of the social movement — the gradually 
accumulated force of self-conscious public opinion 
And so Yamagata, in fullness of years and power and 
honor, died with the hatred of a new liberal age con- 
centrated upon him, while Ito, the defeated, lives on 
as its inspiration and hero 




MUSTAPHA KEMAL 




MUSTAPHA KEMAL 


I 


W HEN after the twenty-two-day battle of the 
Sakhana the Turks of the present genera- 
tion gave their savior, Mustapha Kemal, 
the solemn and tradition-hung title of Gkazt, ‘‘The 
Conqueror,” they exhibited the change that has come 
over Asia Imagine a secular-minded, yellow-haired, 
sharp-chinned, Pansian-tailored, French- and German- 
speaking Muhammad or Emperor Osman ? 

Europe required three centuries to come out of 
medievalism into modernism, but Asia, m self-preserva- 
tion, with the way pioneered by the West, accomplishes 
the tremendous change m half a generation The 
Turks, counted but yesterday the most hide-bound of 
all Asian peoples, have indeed done it in ten years, while 
Europe and America have been convincing themselves 
that the War is over In Turkey as elsewhere the 
transformation was preceded by the painful rise of a 
generation of earnest, mdiscreet, fanatical, patriotic 
new thinkers, but the amazing speed of the change 
itself, robbing Japan of the “record” in nation-remodel- 
ing to date, is due to the mental vitality and ph3rsical 
energy of one personality still in his mid-career Mus- 
tapha Kemal, the Ghazi 

In another way, Turkey is an interesting comparison 
with Japan It now excels the Pacific Power in giving 

[ 249 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


us the most simple and straightforward as well as rapid 
example of the modernization of an Asiatic country 
It enters the list with Japan and Siam as the most 
“enlightened,” m our narrow Western sense, of Asian 
nations A comity of interest, cemented by diplomatic 
and commercial missions, has sprung up between these 
three so different Asian countries of near, imddle, and 
far Asia 

The life of the man Kemal is as straightforward as 
his country’s recent history which he has dominated 
He conceived his purpose in boyhood — ^he seems to have 
been born with it By early youth he had perfected his 
technique It was unquestioning yet not entirely con- 
ceited faith m himself, a deep though demanding trust 
m his associates, an unrelenting pursuit of information 
pertinent to his cause, an unsurpassed ability to bide 
his time, and a heroic courage to contravene^ or ignore 
tradition and convention With the ability to flout the 
established order possessed by Sun Yat-sen he com- 
bined the balance and sense of responsibility of Ito 
With the vision of Sun he combined the determmation 
of Lenin and Stalin With the diplomatic qualities of 
Ito he combined the mihtary and organizing gifts of 
Yamagata He excelled all in genius of generalship 
In originality he did not compare with Lemn oi Gandhi 
He never undertook to establish an original ideology in 
the mind of man, but merely to take from what was 
around him 

Since he is not the founder of a new rehgion or in- 
[ 250 ] 



IVIUSTAPHA KEMAL 


terpretation of life but simply of a modern nation, since 
be IS a careerist and not a seer, his work is much more 
easily understood by us of the West At the same time 
he and his nation remain fundamentally Asiatic The 
Caliph and the fez are gone, but not the psychology 
which made the Koran, the Turkish odes of love and 
leisure, or the mosque of Brussa 

One involuntarily wants to compare Kemal and Mus- 
solini The Italian followed a devious path to power, 
varying fiom radical agitation to Fascism (after all, 
the two are veiy alike when successful) and from ac- 
tivity as a spy m the employ of a foreign government 
to that of a super-patriot Kemal followed a straight 
road from the beginning Both show great knowledge 
of the minds of men of then own and alien races with 
whom they have to deal Both have courage and amaz- 
ing ener^ Kemal is not so good an advertiser as 
Mussolini He equally insists upon being everything, 
but, having unquestioned authority, he seems better 
able to endure the risk of this not bemg in the fore- 
front of his people’s consciousness As to the com- 
parative greatness of their work II Duce controls sixty 
million people, the Ghazi thirteen million But Kemal 
has remade a nation in a sense not approached by 
Mussolini In any case, I make bold to hazard that a 
renewed Italy is not so important to world history now 
as a revived Asian nation 

Kemal has profited as much as any of our figures 
by the ideas and work of forerunners and contempo- 

[ 251 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


raries — ^many of whom he has dropped or slam Yet for 
clean-cut conception and execution of a seemingly im- 
possible task Kemal deserves recognition as the world’s 
greatest living statesman On all counts he probably 
remains the most important artist in nation remodeling 
since Lenin’s death 

He IS the outstanding present example of that cate- 
gory of Asiatic leaders who flourish by challenging the 
accepted Asian order Yet he works on the safe basis 
of race pnde, appealing to, rather than contravening, 
the basic traits of Turkish character He is determined 
to make Turks as self-confident, materially powerful, 
and mentally alive as Europeans, and he is oblivious of 
spiritual values involved 

But his greatest significance to a watching West is 
the demonstration in his personality and accomplish- 
ment that Asia, sterile as she may seem, carries within 
herself the seeds of her own salvation, and that these, 
at times when the world least expects, receive unex- 
pected fecundation from the violating West, to be 
brought to birth m the travail of the East’s indignation 

n 

An army of small, dark, Turkish lads dashed through 
the stalls of the market place which in 1889 served as 
playground for the primary school of Saloniki, in pur- 
suit of an imaginary enemy, led by a ten-year-old boy 
whose com-yellow hair gleamed m the sunlight and 

[ 252 ] 



MUSTAPHA KEMAL 

whose steel-blue eyes narrowed deliberately as he gave 
his commands Then, as the turbaned priest-teacher 
called shrilly, he led his “soldiers” back to sit on the 
ground and be prodded into careless repetition of the 
Koran by the master’s long stick The boy Mustapha 
had but lately returned to school in his native city, 
after a year or two of rurming wild among the fields 
and woods at the uncle’s home whither his strong and 
adored mother had taken him after the death of his 
father That one-time sitter at the seat of custom had 
left his small family no legacy, so Mustapha’s ambi- 
tious mother impressed upon her son the necessity of 
his winning his own education 

Graduation day came, to see Mustapha proudly bear- 
ing home a scholaiship to the secondary school in the 
near-by city of Monastir He went with high hopes 
The modern buildings, the desks, and the books prom- 
ised a new and exhilarating life A quick, brilliant 
student, he started, under this inspiration, to carry 
double work Particularly was he taken by the new 
courses m history and science introduced from Europe. 
And then his enthusiasm turned to dust and ashes when 
he ran afoul of a punctilious and tyrannical old-fash- 
ioned Arabic teacher It was the first time the spirited 
youth had been forced to undergo what was to him 
indignity And there arose within him the beginnings 
of that revolt against misrule at home and aggression 
from abroad which were to make him the rejuvenator 
of a dymg people 


[ 253 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


In spite ofc'liis mother’s bitter opposition to a soldier’s 
profession and the fact that he was below regulation 
age, he ran away from Monastir and registered m the 
Staff School There he found teachers, friends, fol- 
lowers, and audiences His mathematics mastei, whose 
given name was also Mustapha, bestowed upon him the 
popular “career” name of Kemal, “Perfection,” hon- 
ored by the nation’s greatest literary figure, Nanick 
Kemal 

Already the youth was guided by a sense of bound- 
less vitality, inner strength, and superiority He awak- 
ened the admiration and retained the loyalty of his 
school friends, many of whom were to become his 
companions-at-arms He took naturally to military 
regimen He was lovable, with a sense of whimsy lare 
among the Turks (which, like his fair coloring, can 
doubtless be traced to his Roumelian descent), but he 
had a steel-strong will and a naive faith m his own des- 
tmy which, although it did not make him mutinous, ren- 
dered him impervious to influence and made the imprint 
of other personalities negligible 

The militaiy school was rife with gossip of the cruel- 
ties of the ruling Sultan, Abdul Hamid, whose fear of 
assassination was so great that he took the precaution 
of destro3ung or banishing any one whom his many 
spies led him to mistrust No Turkish life was safe 
While other boys slept, Mustapha read about the 
French Revolution and its benignant effect upon the 
people He visualized his own people freed from the 

[ 254 ] 



MUSTAPHA KEMAL 

galling tyranny of a ruler who was both weak and cruel 
and who combined in his person the absolute political 
and religious power After his all-night reading orgies 
he made speeches to his gaping young schoolmates 

This grew into the establishment of a little paper, 
edited by Kemal with unfailing regularity, devoted 
to protests against superstition and misgovernment — 
an activity by no means unknown to the countless spies 
of Abdul Hamid They seized Kemal upon the very 
day of his graduation and took him to the Yildiz Palace, 
where he was subjected to weeks of questioning. He 
fortunately got off with a temporary banishment to 
Damascus 

Here in the world’s most ancient city where peach 
and almond blossoms filled the air with fragrance, the 
young exile had an opportunity to study at first hand 
the military and civil disintegration of territorial Tur- 
key He went from the villas of the officials to coffee 
houses on narrow, winding streets — from the colorful 
bazaars to hovels of the poor The fact that he was 
a student of advanced thought and of art in all its 
manifestations did not cloud his intmtive understand- 
ing of the humble merchant and vine-tender Slender, 
graceful, about six feet m height, there was an indefin- 
able air of elegance about him, and he wore faultless 
European clothes in a manner that would have done 
credit to a Mayfair drawing-room Yet he frequently 
went among the peasants, living quite suffiaently in 
their flat-roofed mud huts, divested of all luxuries. 

[ 255 ] 



EMINENT ASIMSrS 


He gradually gathered about him a group of young 
men whom he organized into a secret political society 
which he named Vatan — “Fatherland ” When news of 
his activities reached Constantinople, his further banish- 
ment to Jaffa was ordered To be confined in the sea- 
port of the Jews was considered a special disgrace in 
the Turkish army, and Kemal particularly, who was 
stigmatized as being a Salomki Jew by his enemies, had 
no relish for the place He won the favor of the local 
commandant who shut his eyes while Kemal’s friends 
spirited him back to his own Saloniki, by way of Alex- 
andria and the Piraeus For eight months Kemal re- 
mained in hiding in his cypress-studded city by the 
gleaming sea, and took advantage of his situation to 
introduce his revolutionary society into the European 
provinces This branch of the Vatan was to be ab- 
sorbed by Enver Pasha’s Union and Progress- Society, 
usually known as the “Young Turks ” 

On second thought, the Sultan concluded that mere 
bamshment was not sufficient for so potentially dan- 
gerous an enemy as Mustapha Kemal and sent an order 
for his arrest to both Damascus and Jaffa The help- 
ful commandant at Jaffa reported that the young officer 
had been sent into service against Egypt, then in revolt 
Abdul Hamid forgot him, and he remained quietly in 
Salomki until his friends could bring about his rein- 
statement in rank and a “transfer” to the General Staff 
m Salomki — where he had been secretly living the 
entire time' 


[ 256 ] 



MUSTAPHA KEMAL 

In 1908 the general Mahmoud Chevet, needing a man 
familiar with European nulitary tactics, took Kemal as 
chief of staff The young officer studied his soldiers 
as carefully as he had studied accounts of the French 
Revolution, and set to work to infuse a new spirit and 
more efficient organization into the army, from its very 
foundations up He was careful to appear submissive 
and not to awaken the jealousy of his superiors until 
the propitious moment for showing his strength should 
arrive Hence he was entrusted with more and more 
authonty 

The Union and Progress party came mto power, but 
Kemal was soon running afoul of his foimer political 
allies Enver, the outwardly suave little leader of the 
Young Turks, whose vanity and jealousy soon marked 
Kemal as a rival, began a campaign against his potential 
enemy wjnch was to react to his own downfall 

Mustapha Kemal disapproved of the manner in 
which politicians were interfering with mihtary disci- 
phne, and he decided to give up politics for the time and 
to turn the full force of his energy toward rehabilitating 
the army His efforts in this direction won approval, 
and in 1910 he was sent to study the French army 
maneuvers in Picardy Returning, he spent several 
months m Pans, a formative experience in his develop- 
ment The contrasts of Oriental and Occidental cul- 
ture thrust themselves upon his attention He was par- 
ticularly impressed by the strength to their nation of 
the soaally free women of France, m contrast with the 

[ 257] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


immured women of his own country He made mental 
notes of the changes m civil and commercial life that 
would have to be introduced into his Oriental society 
He decided in his own mind that his people, who were 
supposed to be hopelessly “Oriental” and backward, 
illiterate and poor, could be inspired to compete with 
the nations of Europe, and he quietly pledged to him- 
self that he would perform this task He improved his 
already excellent French to fluency at this time and 
developed the flair for things French which was in- 
stantly to endear him with French men and women 
who would come in contact with him 

He held the rank of colonel when Italy made a sud- 
den onslaught on Tripoli in 1911 He and Enver and 
Fethi Bey were the outstanding heroes of the campaign 
He remained at Tripoli until news of the outbreak of 
war m the Balkans reached him m 1912 He mustered 
his forces and hastened to repulse this greater threat — 
only to learn, when he had advanced as far as Egypt, 
that his country had been defeated and his native 
Saloniki had fallen 

Hard upon the heels of this conflict a third war broke 
out — ^again in the Balkans Kemal was appomted chief 
of staff at Gallipoli Peninsula He made an intensive 
study of the Dardanelles, and his knowledge was soon 
to be a decisive factor in world history 

Peace came between Turkey and Bulgaria, and 
Kemal remained at Sofia The enmity between him 
and Enver, then Mmister of War, was growing more 

[ 258 ] 



MUSTAPHA KEMAL 

bitter Suddenly the war which was to be called 
“world” overwhelmed Europe Kemal rushed to Con- 
stantinople to oppose Enver’s desire for participation 
His strongly voiced prediction that Turkey’s entrance 
was premature and that Germany was doomed to even- 
tual defeat gave rivals the opportunity to rule him 
from active participation However, his ability to get 
the best from soldiers was soon needed in the desperate 
resistance at Gallipoli He remained m the background, 
with an under-officer’s commission, but every day more 
obviously becoming the one man the soldiers trusted 
More and more the German command leaned upon him 

It IS August, 19 IS Liman Pasha (General Liman 
von Sanders) is at the end of his rope He summons 
Kemal to staff headquarters “We are in a vise I 
can do no more with your damned Turks,” he says 

The young Turkish officer springs up, his blue eyes 
flashing, his usually masklike face setting in deter- 
mination 

“Let me act here I can do much more with them 
Give me the command’” 

Von Sanders and his fellow Germans shrugged their 
shoulders They know the men have ears only for 
Kemal’s voice Without gazette, Kemal takes the fate 
of his country and the lives of 1 60,000 soldiers into his 
decisive hands 

His fellow officers are at first doubtful about his 
authority But when, leading in person at Adana, he 

[ 259] 



EMINENT ASTONS 


is struck down by a fragment of shell, rises again and 
calmly draws a shattered watch from over his heart, 
he IS acclaimed as the chosen of Allah to lead the 
faithful The Turks fear to follow one whose luck is 
evil, but they will go anywhere behind the Allah-pro- 
tected 

Kemal slowly forces back the last and “decisive” 
British attack, and decimates the reembarking Aus- 
tralians He shatters the Allied hope of a speedy victory 
through the Eastern front The exchange in Liman 
Pasha’s tent proves to have been one of the “decisive 
conversations” of history 

When Gallipoli had been evacuated by the British, 
Kemal proceeded to the Caucasus front, where he was 
able to reclaim Bitlis Mush from the clutch of the 
Russians His reward was the rank of Pasha 
But the German commanders as well as the Turkish 
rulers began to fear the weapon they had used lest it 
be turned agamst themselves So they sent Kemal to 
Asia as “Inspector of Troops ” To the Hejaz in far 
Arabia he went, in full realization of the reason for 
his journey but mtent upon using it to advantage He 
promptly advised the recall of the forces in the Hejaz 
in order to strengthen the position at the S5nrian front 
The growing animosity of Enver and of von Falken- 
hyn, who succeeded Liman von Sanders as German 
Chief of Staff, led to the disregard of his sound advice, 
and when his urgent plea agamst the disastrous attack 
upon Bagdad was ignored, he resigned With unfailing 

[ 260 ] 



MUST^PH^ KEM^L 


prescience and exactitude his report, dated in Septem- 
ber, 1917, traced the causes of the Allied victory which 
was to result It is interesting to think that Kemal 
and Colonel Lawrence — so alike in resourcefulness and 
self-confidence — were on opposite sides near Bagdad 
Kemal was vainly advising a withdrawal which would 
have robbed Lawrence of the opportunity for his ex- 
ploits 

In 1918 Vahydu’d-Din Efendi became Sultan In 
compliance with his desire, Mustapha Kemal assumed 
the leadership of the Seventh Army in Palestine It was 
then too late to avert the disaster he had foreseen but 
he managed to keep the remnants of his army together 
and to conduct the retreat after General Allenby’s vic- 
tory m a masterly manner He was later Commander- 
m-Chief of the Yilderim group m their thundering as- 
sault upon Bagdad The pro-German Enver Pasha 
fled mto Soviet Russia to engage in spectacular adven- 
tures which were to lead to his death 

Kemal had opposed the German intrusion mto Tur- 
kish national affairs Now, when Turkey made armis- 
tice, he advised equally against complete surrender to 
Allied influence Due to the stiffening which he pro- 
vided, Turkey procured terms less severe than those 
soon to be imposed on other belligerents Under the 
Armistice of October 30, 1918, the Allies were to con- 
trol the railways and to hold Batum and Baku They 
occupied Constantinople and reserved the right to oc- 
cupy Thrace, the six Armenian villeyets of Asia Minor, 

[ 261 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


and any strategic point necessary to protect the security 
of the Allies The internal affairs of Turkey m Asia 
would not be subject to their interference beyond a line 
running from Aleppo to the Persian frontier along the 
Taurus range 

If the Allies had followed up their advantage and 
forced their terms at that time, the Turks would have 
submitted The English were regarded with hopeful 
respect in Turkey and their penetration raised no pro- 
test The Peace Conference presented so many prob- 
lems that seemed more immediate than that of Turkey, 
however, that she was left uncertain as to the require- 
ments of the victorious Allies for nearly two years 
Doubtless she was considered defenseless and beaten — 
done for, waiting to be divided up as spoils when the 
larger issue could be laid aside — so she was not even 
disarmed 

In the meantime, groups of local Robin Hoods began 
to band together in the remote parts of Asia Minor 
They were joined by Russian Bolsheviks in the Cauca- 
sus and the Tartars in Baku and the Azerbaijan When 
Kemal was to form a national army some of these 
ruf&ans were to prove difficult to discipline and were 
to become enemies, but they now provided a begmning 
of resistance 

KemaPs influence at headquarters was not regarded 
as helpful by the British High Comnussioner, and the 
supine Sultan agreed “Get this man away — an3rwhere 
— quickly ’ He is dangerous,” was the order which 

[ 262 ] 



MUSTAPHA KEMAL 

sent Kemal to Anatolia to demobilize the regiments 
there 

He went to the weary, defeated, depleted troops and 
began heartening them for whatever fate lay in store 
for them, individually or as an army They could not 
be demobilized until they were first organized, he said 
He was far from resigned to the death of his nation 
The Allied Commander-in-Chief, General Milne, au- 
thorized a skeleton force around Erzeroum Mustapha 
Kemal spent hours revising his commission so as to 
leave him a free hand Damad Fend signed, and Kemal 
appeared as representative of both the Allies and the 
Ottoman government He was waiting for fate to give 
him his cue Events soon played into his hands 

On April 4, 1919, the Italians, piqued over Presi- 
dent Wilson’s refusal to grant them Fiume, walked out 
of the Peace Conference at Versailles^ They had a 
further grievance as far back as 1917 their allies had 
promised them Smyrna as their share of Turkey It 
was a deal similar to the one which promised Japan 
the province of Shantung, and by reaction started na- 
tionalism in China — although more honorable, as it 
is more honorable to carve up an opponent than an 
ally The Italians, now relying more on action than 
on table talk, began to occupy Turkey’s ports from 
Adana (April 29, 1919) north in the direction of 
Sm3nrna They met with httle resistance from the dis- 
heartened Turks But the “Big Three” — Lloyd George, 

iJn two weeks they were back 

[ 263 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


Clemenceau, and Wilson — ^were not willing to have 
Italy thus prosper while flouting them They decided 
that Smyrna was a “strategic point necessary for the 
security of the Allies” and planned to throw troops into 
the AEgean port before Italy could But what troops 
to use^ British opinion would support no further ex- 
pedition, and French troops had virtually threatened 
mutiny at the suggestion of more service in the near 
East Venizelos of Greece, looking for territorial ac- 
quisition to save himself with his chauvinistic people, 
came forward with offer of the Greek army And the 
insouciant Lloyd George let loose primitive hates which 
might have given pause to the King of Darkness, an 
action which was to maik the beginning of the decline 
of the British — ^history’s greatest — empire Venizelos’ 
proposal was accepted 

On May 14, 1919, an Allied fleet under thp British 
Admiral Calthorpe sailed into Smyrna and requested 
the Turkish garrison to disarm and turn over the port 
in accordance with the “on demand” terms of the 
Armistice They did so, but inquired anxiously about 
the rumor that the coming occupational forces were 
Greeks They were told that said forces would be 
“Allied ” 

The next day a Greek army disembarked in a parade 
of triumph for the “Greater Greece” idea cherished 
since the siege of Troy Turkish indignation at the 
“betrayal” and mutual hatred between the ancient 
enemies at once flared up Some one fired on the 

[ 264 ] 



MUSTAPHA KEMAL 

parade The Greeks retaliated with a massacre undei 
the eyes of the British navy Desperate fighting broke 
out between the Greeks and the straggling Turkish 
forces m the surrounding area 

World attention made expedient an Allied commis- 
sion of investigation and conciliation American High 
Commissioner Admiral Mark Bristol headed it and com- 
piled a report which the British government declined 
to publish 

Bristol was able to bring about temporary cessation 
of the fighting, but all Turkey was aroused The occu- 
pation of their greatest ^gean port by the Allies would 
have been accepted as part of the fortunes of war, 
but to have it turned over to the pillage of their old 
enemies the Greeks was another matter This was 
pushing victory too far Defiance spread like wildfire 
among the soldiers, filling them with new vigor and 
spiiit The waiting Kemal organized feeling into a 
force On July 27, 1919, he called a congress of a 
handful of patriots at Erzerum, followed by a resolving 
body at Sivas on September 13 It went to pains not 
to appear insurgent against the Sultan, seeking means 
to “safeguard the Sultanate and the supreme Caliphate 
and integrity of the country while the Turkish govern- 
ment was under foreign compulsion ” 

The first act of the Erzerum provisional committee, 
of which Kemal had by general assent become president, 
was to send an appeal to the Turkish Parliament in 
Constantinople, askmg that the Cahph request the 

[ 265 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


Powers to terminate the Greek occupation of Smyrna, 
and that he divest the notoriously pro-allied Damad 
Fend of authority enabling him to make in the name 
of Turkey such terms with Europe as his lecently nego- 
tiated Treaty of Sevres In its telegram the committee 
stated that it would wait a certain number of hours 
in the telegraph office for the Caliph’s reply before act- 
ing Hour after hour passed No reply The Nation- 
alists left the telegraph station free to follow out their 
own plans for the protection of the new Turkey and 
also in open rebelhon against the government at Con- 
stantinople 

At first the British who dommated the Constantinople 
government did not attach any importance to the new 
“Nationalist movement ” What harm could a few pa- 
tnotic fanatics do to their secure position? The Sultan 
was under their control He had accepted Lloyd 
George’s personal support- — oblivious as to how this 
was to lead to his overthrow in the offices of both 
Sultan and Caliph 

Aubrey Herbert, a saon of the English nobility, 
whose understanding of the Near East gained as diplo- 
mat and as adventurer made him an authority, has 
tersely summed up the situation “Mustapha Kemal, 
who was engaged in disarming the Turkish foices, 
became Turkish Commander-in-Chief, and owed his 
title as directly to Mr Lloyd George as any British 
multimillionaire who had contnbuted to party 
funds ” 


[ 266 ] 



iIUSTAPH\ KEMAL 

But Kemal could not long be ignored He equipped 
his army with the weapons left in Turkey by the Ger- 
man evacuation He reorganized the old Union and 
Progress Party and added it to his forces He incor- 
porated and armed the ruffian bands of Asia Minor 
The vehicle was being assembled with which he hoped 
to restore the lost dignity of his country m the eyes of 
all the nations of the earth 

When Constantinople learned of KemaPs activities, 
his immediate return was commanded His response 
to this was to stay on, resigning his position and rank 
under the government of Damad Fend The Sultan 
tried to obviate open repudiation of Kemal, who was 
then his honoraiy aide-de-camp, but the British insisted 
upon his public dismissal Damad Fend, ignonng 
KemaPs resignation, outlawed and degraded the “rebel ” 

Turkey now had two governments — each claiming 
to be the only lawful one Nationalist sentiment spread 
and many open Nationalists were elected to the old 
Parliament in Constantmople The election of Kemal 
himself was even suggested He refused to consider 
going, on the grounds that under existing conditions in 
Constantinople no legislative body there could express 
the “will of the people ” Already in his mind the break 
with Constantinople was clear, but there remained much 
loyalty among patriots and much fanaticism among the 
populace and he had to move cautiously Also, when 
he envisioned the force making new Turkey he saw 
himself heading it 


[ 267 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


Kemal moved his own governmental headquarters 
from Sivas to the ancient, classical, expanse-protected 
seat of Angora, and his influence and power grew 
rapidly throughout Turkey His forces came into con- 
flict with the French in Cihcia When the French were 
driven out of the Marash district the remaining Arme- 
nian and Greek population was massacred with some 
of the cruelty that the Greeks m Smyrna had wreaked 
upon the Turks The Italian forces were not molested, 
their differences with the Greeks over Albania and the 
Dodecanese making their presence desirable as a bal- 
ance to the Greek occupation of Smyrna Also, the 
Italians were, accordmg to reports, furnishmg arms to 
the Turkish Nationalists They performed a similar 
service to various factions in China, although officially 
they subscribed to the arms embargo Kemal sent 
the semi-bandit irregular forces to harass the Anglo- 
Greek invaders Their successes were constantly coun- 
terbalanced by British reenforcements of the Greeks 
A thrilling story of the saving of the rock-bound port 
of Samsun by Refet Bey is told by Madame Berthe 
Georges-Gaulis, a Frenchwoman whose semi-official 
presence m Turkey was designed to promote good feel- 
mg between her countrymen and the Turks The Brit- 
ish colonel debarked at Samsun in advance of his men 
to investigate the size of the protecting force Taking 
soldiers marching in the distance to be the vanguard 
of a large army, he discreetly retired The “army” 
was composed of a hundred or so of Refet Bey’s de- 

[ 268 ] 



MUSTAPHA KEMAL 

voted followers who had passed and repassed withm 
view of the officer 

There were rumors of an impending British coup 
in Constantinople Life became more and more wretched 
for the Muslem patriots The Armenian and other 
Christian elements long accustomed to insult were hav- 
ing their turn at arrogance Halide Edib, the dainty 
and intense Turkish woman novelist, relates the offen- 
siveness of Christian to Turkish women in the rail- 
road trains and the barring of Turkish women from 
street cars by Armenian conductors “We will report 
to the British” was the threat under which they con- 
ducted their petty tyranny Various leaders slipped 
away from Constantinople to Angora, and when the 
Bntish occupied the city and dissolved Parliament on 
March 16, 1920, making further departures impossible, 
there was a nucleus of very interesting characters 
around Kemal, each remarkable in his own way 

We are indebted to Halide Edib for a deathless pic- 
ture of these men during the year of almost unbeliev- 
able stress which she has called the “Turkish Ordeal ” 
She presents them as they appear to her sensitive na- 
ture, with unquestionable coloring one way or the other, 
and yet of equally unquestionable honesty Kemal she 
paints in red and death-giay, and doubtless these colors 
are prominent in the many-sided leader We see him, 
a man of sharply cut lines, a slim elegant figure, thin 
lips cynically curved over tightly closed mouth, eye- 
brows bristling over flashing steel blue eyes, with a 

[ 269] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


narrow, slender, sensitive hand ready to spring like a 
tiger’s claw His mind she describes as “two-sided like 
a lighthouse lantern,” alternating between clear flashes 
of intuitive intelligence and inconsistent sophistry He 
dominated the headquarters table, where they all ate, 
with a brilliant but cruel irony which spared no one, 
while on the other hand he was always personally 
courteous to those about him Suffering from internal 
trouble and fever, he would sit all night examining in 
the light of a yellow flickering lamp the dispatches from 
his harassed Anatolian followers who were gradually 
being pinched between the foreign aggressor and the 
fanatical supporters of the old regime 

As the night advanced and the yellow light went pale be- 
cause of the coming dawn, every one looked weary and hag- 
gard — ^Mustapha Kemal Pasha the most of all There 
were moments when his eyes and his whole mien %eemed like 
a powerful tiger’s caught m a trap It was always morn- 
ing when we went down to get a few hours sleep but we did 
not know the moment when the Caliphate soldiers might come 
and tear us from our beds and kill us in one of the many 
horrible ways they had found of killing every Nationalist 
they could lay hands on It was during the days when they 
dragged our wounded officers from the hospital of Bolou and 
smashed their heads in with stones ® 

Apparently difference of race is not required to inspire 
atrocity in Turkey 

Of Kemal’s staff, Ismet Bey was to work best witb 

3 The quotations from Halide Edib in this chapter are taken from her 
Memoirs ‘iAitli the permission of The Century Company, publishers 

[ 270 ] 



1MUSTAPH4 KEM^L 

the difficult temperament of the leader, becoming Pasha 
and Chief-of-Staff of the new Turkish armies He was 
an older man than the others with ‘‘a little dark and 
wistful face, wondering child-hke eyes,” punctilious old 
Turkish manners, and an unfailingly kind heart He 
was slightly deaf which gave him a sort of clown-like 
air, a witty talker, but never bitter The man to attain 
second prominence in military accomplishment was 
Colonel Refet, a handsome, fastidious dresser with steel 
muscles and nerves who once dealt with brewing insur- 
rection in Konia by inviting the notables there onto 
his train for a conference, suddenly starting the engine, 
and bringing them all, thus kidnaped, to his chief, 
Kemal, at Angora There was Colonel Nazim, who 
treated his soldiers like a father and was equally be- 
loved by them — ^the Nazim who used to declaim 
“There is, only one way to improve the world, first in- 
cite the soldiers to kill all their officers, and then kill 
all the soldieis ” Tewfik, early chief of KemaPs mili- 
tary cabinet, was a jovial spirit who announced the 
crucial victory of the army at Kars to his staff with 
the declaration “The Department of the East shall 
have sweet dishes to-day, but the Department of the 
West shall have only leeks boiled m water ” The com- 
mander of this first successful expedition of the Na- 
tionalist junta which opened the way to Persia and 
the Caucasus, the only friendly territory about Turkey, 
Kiazim Kara Bekir, loved his violin Murreddin Pasha, 
who the rarely eulogistic Kemal said “gave us all our 

[ 271 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 

ideals of liberty,” was an idealist who soon dropped out 
of prominence m the hectic days 

The self-effacing Dr Adnan acted as Minister of 
Public Health and in any other portfolio where differ- 
ences with Kemal had created a vacancy, and tended 
the women and children who flocked from the villages 
on the rolling plain And one must not overlook Madam 
Edib herself, wife of Dr Adnan, whose hungry black 
eyes watched everything from a birdlike face sur- 
mounting an exquisitely fragile, tubular body which 
bent in a chair like a green bamboo A woman of 
obstinate opinion, sensitive perception, supreme intelli- 
gence, and great courage, she always reminded one, with 
her wide-eyed harmlessness and resignation which cov- 
ered like a coat of feathers the taut, quivering spmt 
inside of a captive bird She is as outstanding in her 
new nation and society as Sarojini Naidu in hers, and 
it IS a sign of the time that New Asia should produce 
probably the two most gifted litterateuse-stateswomen 
of the age 

The dissolving of the Constantinople Parliament gave 
the Angora group the opportunity to appeal to all 
devotees of representative government as the champions 
of Turkish democracy They set about frammg a con- 
stitution, but this had to be announced as temporary 
due to the still surviving loyalty of the people to the 
Sultan Kemal took a stiff stand against most of his 
associates m opposing the traditional tri-departmental 
repubhcan form It was, he said, both too new — it 

[ 272 ] 



MUSTAPHA KEMAL 

would scare the Asiatic population — and too old — ^it 
was already discredited in Europe The new experi- 
ment in Russia was doubtless affecting Kemal, but more 
likely it was the innate prescience of the bom dictator 
which caused him, like Lenin and Mussolini, to seek 
some new, loose form And Kemal’s conception of de- 
mocracy IS one of the things which prove liim an Asiatic 
Kemal was to prove the ideal Asiatic administrator, 
providing the type of rule under which Orientals are 
most prosperous and content He was the informal 
but none the less all-powerful dictator, always willing 
to listen to the people and at propitious moments ex- 
plainmg his intentions In a speech delivered in Decem- 
ber, 1921, he took them into his confidence regarding 
the program he had mapped out for the National As- 
sembly Kemal proved as effective an orator as lie 
was a soldier Tall and blond, his face m masklike 
serenity beneath his tall kalpak, he commanded his 
audience With a musical voice rich vocabulary, and 
gracious gestures, he expressed his nuances of feeling 
The speech lasted five hours He made it clear that 
he saw no light in the administrative speaahzation 
which Anglo-Saxons have as the basis of Western de- 
mocracy and which Amencans hailed so enthusiastically 
as the sesame to perfect government The Oriental 
genius runs to consultation, deliberation, headed by 
one-man responsibility and authority Neither rulers 
nor ruled had understood the imported constitution 
which had resulted from the Young Turk revolution of 

[ 273 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 

1908, and in consequence the people were exploited 
for personal aggrandizement 

The Asiatic “Republic” is a natural evolution from 
Oriental benevolent despotism The “Republics” of 
Turkey, China, or Persia apply our terms and organi- 
zation to the old Oriental principle of the despot em- 
bodying all authority, administrative, legislative, and 
judicial, without specialization This is, however, done 
in harmony with the traditions and feelings of the 
people, now expressed more articulately than before 
thiough a representative assembly copied so far as 
make-up is concerned from Western constitutions, but 
having nothing in common with them in function 

He contrasted laws of the past which had brought 
the country to rum to new laws with which Turkey 
was being rebuilt, justifying the latter by rules of utility 
and reason When he was asked to what the, new gov- 
ernment could be compared he said “Our government 
IS neither democratic nor socialist It does not resemble 
any other, and represents the national will and national 
sovereignty If one must say what it is from a social 
point of view, we will say, ‘It is a government of the 
people’ ” — that is, a Western student would qualify, m 
harmony with the people’s instincts and directed toward 
their survival on a competitive basis m the modem 
world Kemal, says Madam Edib, often argued all 
mght for his scheme He worked, talked, and gesticu- 
lated with frenzied energy to get control of the dispersed 
forces which were not his at all The result was a 

[ 274] 



MUSTAPHA KEMAL 

convention form of organization with ministers of de- 
partments called commissaries who formed no respon- 
sible cabinet but were severally responsible to the Grand 
National Assembly fcalled for short Mejliss) of which 
Kemal was President It made the dignitaries of Ana- 
tolia, who composed the Assembly, feel that they were 
receiving the power, and although it meant much an- 
noyance for Kemal wnthin the first few months, it pro- 
vided inevitably the excuse for a dictator The As- 
sembly proclaimed that the Sultan-Caliph had become 
a prisoner m enemy hands, and since he was no longer 
a free agent, Kemal was taking over the temporary 
rule of his people It is curious to note that enough 
loyalty to the Sultan survived to compel the use of the 
word “temporary ” 

A struggle took place between the advocates of “Wes- 
ternization” and those of the “Eastern Ideal” in the 
new regime The latter held that Turkey was throw- 
ing off the tyranny of the West and would do poorly 
to identify herself culturally with her oppressors Some 
were convinced of Gandhi’s teaching that the West was 
doomed to destruction and asked why Turkey should 
follow a light that was going out They felt that affili- 
ation with Russia, and introduction of Soviet organi- 
zation, would go hand m hand with a distinct Asianism 
in manners, dress, and life This was true in a sense, 
but not the sense in which they hoped The “Wes- 
temizers” mamtamed that the tendency of the Turk 
since his departure from Asia had been westward and 

[ 275 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


her true genius dictated fulfillment of the trend Mus- 
tapha Kemal negatively encouraged the formation of a 
Communist Party — ^with an eye to Russia’s place in 
Turkey’s freedom and to frighten the Powers from 
drastic policy When he had cleared his country of 
foreign troops he was to continue Russian diplomatic 
friendship gladly but place the death penalty upon Com- 
munist agitators 

The Sultan’s government did not take all the devel- 
opments inspired from Angora supinely The self-con- 
fident young premier, Damad Fend, tool of the British, 
issued death warrants against all the Angora leaders, 
including the woman Halide Edib, and procured their 
religious confirmation by a fetwa or “holy court ” This 
made them enemies of Islam and their assassination 
a sacred act When the news reached Angora the con- 
demned sat around with thoughtful faces “I feel very 
much upset myself — I hate to be condemned to death 
How do you^feel about it?” asked Dr Adnan of the 
Pasha “I mind it very much,” said Mustapha Kemal 
Their answer was typically Oriental The Assembly 
solemnly condemned Damad Fend and his associates to 
death, and summoned in a fetwa of countryside muz- 
zems to sanctify their action 

Plots against Kemal’s life were formed— and in time 
unveiled The attempt of Greek agents to assassinate 
him in 1920 was followed by reports that he was dead, 
or that he had been bought with English gold 

The depth of the intrigue was revealed to the most 
1 276] 



MUST^PH^ KEMAL 

cynical during the trial and confession of an English 
agent in May, 1921, who had assumed the name of 
Mustapha Saghir (or Saguir) 

He had gone about his work in a Kiplmgesque man- 
ner and was captured m stock detective story fashion 
The English, before sending him to Angora, had pre- 
tended to imprison him m the dreaded dungeons of 
Agopian-khan He pretended to escape to Ineboh 
He posed as a deputy from the Indian Caliphate Con- 
ference and \olunteered for the additional duty of 
carrying news from Angora to its intelligence office in 
Constantinople The Nationalists pretended that they 
did not know these things and received him as a fellow 
sufferer from British impenaiism He spun a network 
of investigation, little dreaming that his coachmen were 
gendarmes and his every movement was recorded 
When he had gone far enough he was arrested A gen- 
tleman of breeding and education in his early thirties, 
he stood calmly and free from self-justification before 
his judges, revealing names and dates and vast sums 
of money that made the high kalpaks of his listeners 
stir m amazement The people of Angora sat breath- 
less as he punctuated his words now and then with a 
frank, poignant smile He was a young Mussulman 
from Benares who had been taken to England as a 
child In return for his education, he said, he had been 
required to swear, upon the Koran, fealty to the Eng- 
lish king and the Viceroy of India When he graduated 
from Oxford he was sent to Cairo to spy on the Egyp- 

1277] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


tian Nationalist movement Soon his field of activity 
included Persia, Turkey, Afghanistan, and India 
He told the amount of money the Sultan received 
from England each month Mustapha Kemal, he said, 
could have seven million dollars if he would take in- 
structions from the British The Ghazi smiled, re- 
marking that he had not before realized how large was 
his “commercial value ” He revealed the plot to assas- 
sinate Kemal which was sponsored by the Sultan, mem- 
bers of the Damad Fend government, and English mili- 
tary men in Constantinople He had been chosen to 
carry out the actual murder m Anatolia 
“Why were you chosen for this^” he was asked 
“Because of my success in an even more dangerous 
errand m Afghanistan,” he replied, “when I assassinated 
the Emir ” In return for complete confession, he asked 
only that he might go to death without revelation of 
his real name — for the honor of an ancient Muslem 
family ® 

More serious was the desultory war which Caliphate 
troops conducted against the Nationalists, gradually 
occupying most of the Anatolian railway KemaPs 

®Emir Habibullah Khan was murdered in his sleep by a suborned aide 
February 20, 1919 He had been regarded favorably by the British but 
was the rallying center for a Central- Asian Islamic confedonuion which 
they might have feared The official India Yearbook (1927) lays his death 
upon reactionary religious elements who feared his progressiveness — ^the 
same elements which were later to upset Amd nullah Following the assas- 
sination this young prince, head of the arsenal, treasury, and army and 
supported by Russia, was— -to use the Bntish report— '^practically forced 
to fight the Bntish by the factions m the kingdom” and invaded the 
Punjab An armistice was reached May 14 A Russian economic pene- 
tration followed, interrupted by Amanullah's overthrow m early 1929 

[ 278 ] 



ilUSTAPHA KEMAL 

agents were preaching further sacrifices for the saving 
of the nation m all the towns and cities of Anatoha 
and in reaction fanatic religionists were mobbing and 
killing the ‘‘infidels who shaved and wore collars ” 
Yielding to the war weariness and anti-militarism of his 
Assembly men, Kemal had almost completely disbanded 
the regular troops who had fallen to his command, and 
now he had to call upon roving bands of irregulars to 
protect the Nationalist movement Merely glonfied 
bandits, they often practiced extortion and license upon 
the populists which threw the whole movement into 
disfavor Only the fact that when they leaped out of 
the frying pan they found themselves in the fire held 
much of the countryside submissive 
As the Greeks undertook an offensive, Izzet Pasha 
arnved from Tewfik Pasha who succeeded to the head- 
ship of the Sultan’s cabinet to offer compromise and 
union Fearful of the weak-kneed allegiance of his 
people, Kemal adopted the bold stroke of placing Izzet 
and his embassy under honorable detention and publish- 
ing that they had come to strengthen the Angora regime 
Edhem, the arrogant dandified Robin Hood who en- 
hsted even women in his, the largest, irregular army 
and conducted a newspaper agamst “a regular army 
and militarism,” made cause of this to demand com- 
promise with the Sultan and attack KemaPs few regu- 
lars Seizing the advantage, the Greeks moved inland 
— ^past Brussa — ^to within twenty-five miles of Angora, 
but the invaders spoiled the triumph within sight by 

[ 279 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


pushing their advantage too far When they made al- 
liance with Edhem they thought everything was done, 
but even his bandit soldiers were too good Turks to 
countenance his borrowing Greek rifles to shoot Turks 
and they turned upon their commander In cold Janu- 
ary, 1921, Ismet stopped the Greeks at Inn-Eunu and 
old Izzet was quick to go to headquarters and join 
m the lejoicing’ It is of these dark days that Halide 
Edib wrote 

This was worse than civil war There was the Sultan’s gov- 
ernment preying on the people , there were the French occupy- 
ing Cilicia and sending Armenian legions to persecute the 
people too, there were the Greeks around Smyrna massacre- 
ing, burning, ravaging, and violating every human law , there 
were the Allies in Istamboul oppressing the Turks at their 
pleasure — there was the whole Western world with its ever- 
lasting “Down with the Turks ' ” There were Western states- 
men insisting that the big stick should always be used with 
Orientals, with the unspeakable Turks , and, amid it all, there 
were we, the Nationalists, fighting to free our people from all 
their alien oppressors I realized then as I had never realized 
before the ordeal of the Turkish people, walled in by the 
world’s hatred, divided against themselves by internal strife 

The identity of Turkish cause with that of all revolt 
in Asia is expressed in Madam Edib’s record of Mus- 
tapha Kemal’s daoler against the British speech on how 
to handle Eastern peoples 

I realized then that we were no longer a nation of empire- 
buildeis who were unconscious of their own superiority com- 
plex, instead we had now become one of the peoples who 
suffer from the superiority complexes of other great empire- 
builders 


[ 280 ] 



iIUSTAPH4 KEMAL 

When Mnstapha Kemal Pasha came into my bureau I laid 
the translation of the speech before him Tvithout comment 
He fle%v into one of the most violent rages I have ever seen 
him in 

“They shall know that we are as good as they are’’ he 
shouted “They shall treat us as their equal ’ Never will 
bow our heads to them’ To our last man will stand 
against them till vve break their civilization on their heads’’’ 
It was as if the whole East were crying out in his voice 

I felt at that time that even the massacres b^^ the Gbeek 
army, and the A.Ihes’ high-handed occupation of Tstambdul, 
were insignificant compared wnth this insufferable assumption 
of superiority by the West I had come to know through long 
and painful experience that there is no outrage which is com- 
mitted by human beings on each other which cannot be for- 
gotten in time by some common interest and sympathy ans- 
mg — except one the assumption of superiority , the one who 
assumes it and the one who has to submit to it are irrevocably 
divided And I would say that if the much-talLed-of clash 
between East and West should ever become a reality, and 
all the latent hatred become expressed, then the fundamental 
cause will be this assumption of superiority by the West and 
the resulting two codes of justice, and not all the economic 
and political difficulties we so often speak about As long 
as the world lasts, herd feeling will culminate m such ghastly 
and ugly deeds as recent history recoids, whenever it is stimu- 
lated and used by leading politicians to satisfy their greed 
and lust for power But nothing they effect can be lasting , 
only the struggle to level all nations and classes and men 
will never cease till man stands with man on a basis of equal 
dignity and justice 

There is a trail of blood from Erzerum to Smyrna, shed by 
the unknown and the unrenowned, each one dying to save his 
country from the ignominy of slavery and to create a free 
and independent Turkey which should be an inspiration to all 
other suffering and enslaved peoples 

[ 281 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


Out of the heat of Turkey’s ordeal and the mouths 
of a soldier and a woman novelist, comes the most 
definite and ariestmg statement of the resentment of 
New Asia that I have found from Tokyo to Cairo 

We have glimpses of Mustapha Kemal m Angora 
standing among his men as a mast among sails and 
rigging, working ruthlessly to make a movement out of 
his dispel sed forces and sympathizers He now had 
a legislative body as well as traders and foreign ag- 
gressoi^ to struggle with He cajoled, persuaded, and 
bullied, became irritable and again forced himself to 
appear cool He was by turns, says the critical Madam 
Edib, cynical, suspicious, unscrupulous, and satanically 
shrewd, but in every mood he displayed superhuman 
vitality 

There are men around him who are greatly his superior in 
intellect and moral backbone, and far above him In cultme 
and education, but not one of them could cope with his vitality 
It was peihaps just because he was a colossal personification 
of one part of every day human nature that he had a better 
chance of controlling the masses than might a man who pos- 
sessed subtler and more balanced qualities or more profound 
wisdom I can still see him standing in the middle of the room 
talking everyone to exhaustion while he remains as fresh as 
the moment he began, and I can remember saying to myself, 
“What an astounding man ' Is he just some elemental force 
in a human form? And how can this cyclone ever come to 
rest when the nation has reached its goal 


When there was no stress of work, he loved to try out 
his powers m argument, reminding the Hanum of Sultan 

[ 282 J 



MUSTAPH4 KEMAL 


Murad IV who took exercise between fights by cutting 
donkeys in two with a sword slash To prepare himself 
for the unavoidable struggle with the priesthood, he 
studied the Moslem religious traditions and early his- 
tory “While among us,” says the jealously watchful 
lady, “he was as strictly pure as a sincere Catholic 
pnest, but some evenings he disappeared,” to make 
merry with the clergy — and then attack their hypocrisy 
He showed no personal religious inclination, giving his 
time entirely to pragmatic affairs, but Madam Edib 
accuses him of a superstitious trait in regard to mystic 
inscriptions and dreams His underlings were always 
having propitious dreams for his benefit, she says She 
accuses him of paling and hesitating when shooting 
broke out around the hut which was headquarters His 
bravery in battle was not open to question, but Madam 
Halide concluded that he “lacked the courage to face 
a mob and which can survive without a gallery ” She 
gives an incident with strange undertones to illustrate 
his severity Two of his best officers had been treacher- 
ously captured and tortured almost to death by Sul- 
tanate forces They were saved by two officers who 
asked in return personal safety should they fall into 
Nationalist hands They fell into the hands of Edhem 
before that irregular chief’s defection, were condemned 
to death, and the death warrants were sent to Kemal 
He wanted to sign them, stating that “war was no place 
for mercy, pity, and sentimental morality ” Ismet and 
the others spent an entire night of hot arguing dis- 

[ 283 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


suadmg him and in the morning procured an angry 
note asking reprieves, but it was soon discovered that 
meanwhile Edhem had executed the men In politics 
he was opportunistic and ruthless The Assembly, very 
suspicious of its President Kemal’s power, attacked 
the loyal Minister of Interior Jami Bey for favoring 
Kemal’s policies Kemal refrained from backing Jami 
— ^which, the Assembly seeing, turned about face and 
gave Jami a vote of confidence Feeling that this would 
bring embarrassment upon Kemal, the Minister in- 
sisted on resigning, but it is always true men fear those 
whom they have wronged and Kemal insidiously pushed 
Jami Bey out of public life Usually suave in his en- 
mities, Kemal forgot himself and called Himdullah 
Soubhi Bey a liar He tactfully withdrew this, and 
Himdullah Soubhi became his Minister of Education, 
but Kemal eventually undermined and got rid of him 
also 

Kemal required unquestioning obedience but he 
found one assistant, a lady, who was to flout him The 
beginning of this memorable feud is recorded in Halide 
Edib’s memoirs in a brief conversation 

“I don’t want any considerations, ciiticisms, or advice I 
will have only my own way All shall do as I command ” 

“Me too, Pasham?” 

“You too " 

“I will obey you and do as you wish as long as I believe 
you are serving the cause ’’ 

“You shall obey me and do as I wish” 

[ 284 ] 



MUSTAPHA KEMAL 

“That night,” she records, “I determined to write 
my memoirs and to write them in English ” — “Is that 
a threat Pasham?” she had asked him “I am sorry,” 
he had said “I would not thieaten you ” But when 
the author saw Madam Edib in Madison, Wisconsin, 
in the winter of 1928-29, she was very sure that “Eemal 
Pasha desired her death more fervently than that of 
any other living creature,” and possibly with good 
reason 

Edhem’s insurrection drove the Assembly to support 
Kemal’s regular army and a cool, reliable military ma- 
chine was rapidly built out of the patriotic peasantry 
of Anatolia The opportumty to lead the nation after 
having been dragged at the tail of Constantinople for 
centuries appealed to these primitive Turks and en- 
abled Kemal to carry out changes there which even 
the great metropolis would have considered impossible 
innovations And Constantinople was accustomed to 
foreign occupations whereas the upstanding Anatolians 
would not accommodate themselves to the idea From 
nowhere else in Turkey could salvation have come, and 
Kemal knew what he was doing when he “buried him- 
self among the primitives’’* while the “civilized ’ laughed 
Kemal saw too, in the alkali wastes and green expanses 
of Anatolia an ally as undefeatable as “King Winter” 
in Russia When the Greeks had penetrated the 
farthest m January and March, 1921, at Inn-Eunu, 
and Kemal’s associates were on the verge of demorali- 
zation, he seemed the most confident, saying, “The ex- 

[ 285 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


panses of our Motherland will swallow them up ” This 
of course was negative assistance The positive as- 
sistance which brought triumph was the loyalty and 
toil of the Turkish women who raised the crops, sent 
half of them to the army, and turned themselves into 
its transport carrying on their scantily clothed backs, or 
m their farm carts, supplies, arms, and ammunition 

Some outside support was coming to Kemal The 
Soviet Power, beginning its policy of supporting Asian 
nationalism to break down the British Empire, made a 
military convention with him giving him what money 
and few arms it could spare — for it was very hard 
pressed Formal treaty came in March, 1921, treaties 
with Afghamstan and Azerbaijan the following October, 
and sympathetic dealings spurred by Soviet agents were 
entered into with Persia, India, and Egypt Indian 
Muslems were stirred, but bewildered by the Caliph’s 
denunciation (purchased by Lloyd George) of the Na- 
tionalists as rebels and traitors to Islam It became 
clear to Kemal that the people of Turkey would have 
to outlaw such a purchasable viceroy of God, and he 
began quietly preparing the minds of his people for 
this coup which the world would not have believed any 
one could dare 

The Greek army, backed by British influence, gold, 
and ammunition, had thought to legalize its position 
in Smyrna through the Treaty of Sevres But the 
treaty was destined never to be ratified Only in al- 
lowing the Sultan to retam Constantinople was it less 

[ 286] 



MUSTAPHA KEMAL 

devastating to the Turkish Empire than the one handed 
to Tewfik Pasha the preceding summer To that Kemal 
had sworn resistance to the end, and he now threatened 
the Sultan with deposition and outlawiy if he dared the 
break-up of the Ottoman Empire by signing this be- 
trayal It would have given the part of Thrace that 
remained in Turkey’s possession after the Balkan wars 
to Greece, who had not fought the Turkish Empire 
until after the Armistice It provided for an inde- 
pendent Armenia, an autonomous Kurdish state, it 
placed the Greeks m a position to attain the Hellenic 
Empire that has been the ambition of the peninsular 
people since the days of Pericles It required the inter- 
nationalization of the Straits both in peace and in war. 
The Turkish army was to be reduced to 50,000 men, 
with distribution of war materials in the hands of the 
Allies Fortifications were to be destroyed Turkey 
was to have no air force and no navy She was to be 
divested of her Arab provinces, to admit the independ- 
ence of the Hejaz, the British annexation of Cyprus, 
French rights m Tunis and Morocco, Italian rights in 
Tripoli, and the Italian and Greek possession of her 
islands in the ^gean and Mediterranean Seas 

If this treaty had been presented to the Turkey of 
1918, it might have been accepted In the interim of 
nearly two years, the Greek occupation had aroused 
the people, and the National Party imder Kemal’s lead- 
ership had sprung up to protect them 
Fate, which had played into Kemal’s hands when the 

[ 287] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


ambition of Venizelos flared, now again played into his 
hands with that statesman’s repudiation by his own 
people His downfall, the death of the Greek King 
Alexander, and the recall of King Constantine, reduced 
the Greeks to a state of utter confusion Italy resented 
the occupation of Smyrna, France withdrew her sup- 
port when Constantine returned, as she held him re- 
sponsible for the shooting of her soldiers in Athens in 
1916 Even the support of England became less en- 
thusiastic, although Lloyd George upheld the Greeks 
with orations Hope of ratification of the Sevres treaty 
was abandoned France seized the opportunity to 
pique England by signing a separate treaty with the 
Turks and promising her influence towaid better terms 
with the other Allies With this disunion in their favor 
the separate delegations from the Angola Nationahst 
capital and the Sultanate in Constantinople went to a 
peace conference with the Greeks in London in Febru- 
ary Kemal was not only strong enough to compel 
recognition of his faction but to completely dominate, 
through his fnend Bekir Sami, both delegations They 
joined in a demand for radical changes in the Sevres 
draft These were not granted Kemal now deter- 
mmed to risk everything on the high adventure of a 
great offensive against the invaders 

Bekir Sami, the diplomat, did not feel so bold as 
Kemal, the soldier, and he made a proposal to Lloyd 
George which, as Halide Edib reveals, had melodra- 
matic repercussions He offered to make Turkey a 

[288] 



MUSTAPHA KEMAL 

buffer state against Bolshevism if Great Britain would 
end foreign occupation Lloyd George, riding high, 
laughed at any idea about the Near East emanating 
from Near Easterners Strangely enough a copy of the 
conversation fell into the hands of Chicherin in Moscow, 
inspiring an angry message to Kemal, who was receiv- 
ing Soviet support Bekir Sami resigned, and Kemal 
prepared to attack the Greeks 

They anticipated him, confident in their hundred 
thousand men and best British supplies against his 
twenty-five thousand and female human transport The 
Turks were pushed steadily back to within a day’s 
horseback ride of Angora Then the panic-stncken 
Assembly granted Kemal what he had been waiting 
for a supreme dictatorship over army and government 
The new Bash-Commandan rode out on April S, 1921, 
to take field command, only to be thrown from his horse 
and break a rib He was carried back to Angora, but 
returned to the front within twenty-four hours 
Through this decisive campaign he changed his head- 
quarters continually with the advancing army, and 
worked day and night, although he could not move at 
his desk without pain He snatched his sleep sitting 
bolt upright in his chair, and when he thought it nec- 
essary crawled m the trenches or surveyed the country 
on horseback Even Halide Edib was swept away and 
wired the Commander-in-Chief personally an offer of 
enlistment He accepted as gallantly, by return wire, 
and once agam she was clerical aide at staff head- 

[289] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


quarters — this tune as a regular private By the end 
of the struggle she had been promoted to sergeant, but 
she bore the responsibilities of a general The make-up 
and offiicermg of the army, with their intricate changes 
from day to day, Kemal kept in his mind, showing 
perhaps the greatest gift of the modern general, that 
foi detail Like all possessors of abounding vitality and 
optimism, he had his rages of despair — fumed and 
swore and paced, and when every one else had given 
up he was cool and certain and deft Hovering over 
him and looking, says Madam Edib, like his double, 
was his schoolboy friend. Colonel Arif, who knew the 
lay of the land to the last molehill Like every true 
soldier, he had stomach for the game of war, and spoke 
ruefully, with a mmd on his twenty-five thousand men, 
of the time when, at the Dardanelles, he could afford 
to sacrifice eleven thousand men m one fight Yet, 
m spite of huge losses he had forty thousand men be- 
hind him when the war was over — ^so completely was 
Anatoha behind him and so thorough was his recruiting 
organization 

“General Anatolian wastes” had already sapped the 
vigor of the Greek offensive when Kemal took supreme 
command It was really expert soldienng which al- 
lowed them to stretch themselves to the utmost The 
complete change m personnel of the Greek command, 
due to frenzied politics in Athens, had made vulnerable 
the morale of their army Yet they overflowed into 
the broken valley of the River Sakharia m spite of 

[ 290 ] 



]MUSTAPHA KEiLAL 

Kemal, and for twenty-two relentless days and nights 
m September, 1921, he fought to hold them there He 
was personally on the field — ^his horse was shot down 
under him His losses — including three division gen- 
erals the first day — began to indicate the end for such 
a small force On the last evening arrived news that 
the Greeks had broken over Mount Tchal, indicating 
the failure of Turk resistance And at two m the morn- 
ing as Kemal stormed and paced came a telephone call 
that the Greeks were giving along their line The vic- 
tory had been too great a strain for them 

The story of KemaFs conduct at this battle did for 
him — and much more immediately — ^what that of Wash- 
ington’s crossing the Delaware did for the Colonial 
leader It made him a hero — a demigod to his people, 
credited with superhuman coolness and endurance 
The Assembly was quick to promote him to Field Mar- 
shal and proclaim him Ghazt — ^‘'The Conqueror ” In 
the minds of patriotic Turks he was ranked with Mu- 
hammad, All, and Othman 

When Kemal heard that the enemy was shipping 
home everything transportable and burning even the 
Christian villages, he chuckled, saying, '‘They are going 
and don’t expect to come back ” The retreat became 
a rout, with burned villages, slam children, tortured 
old men, and unspeakable violations of women in its 
wake. As the victors advanced, horrible revenge was 
taken on isolated and wounded Greek stragglers Latife 
Hanum, appointed to investigate atrocities, shuddered 

[291] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


at a report of the lynching of a Greek soldier by 
wronged women The gentlemanly old Ismet, who was 
her mainstay during these months, brought her this 
rebuke from her chief “Pasha deplores your weak 
heart, which cannot bear violence ” We are told that 
the American word “lynch” was populaily adopted into 
the Turkish language at this time, and Kemal chuckled 
again 

He had gone for a respite to his Angora home — a 
spacious country landlord’s villa set aside as official 
residence — to allow his rib to heal, to fight an opposi- 
tion which organized simultaneously with his popu- 
larity, and receive at his capital his revered mother 
She was, describes Madam Edib, seventy, built on a 
majestic scale, her big, round face with its milk-white 
complexion hardly lined In spotless headkerchief and 
white gown she was a “typical Macedonian woman of 
the people and pretended to nothing else Her son was 
the same Mustapha of school days, his position did not 
matter, she loved him and scolded him and spoke of 
him as she had always done ” She was ill, and sat 
all day upon a pallet on the floor “She did not bother 
much about the struggle m Anatolia, her native city 
was Salomki, and she would have no new dress made 
until her son Mustapha should deliver it from cap- 
tivity ” 

She showed a traditional mother’s scorn of her son’s 
housekeeper, a frail, wistful cousm of Kemal named 
Fikrie, who had been brought to take charge of a home 

[ 292 ] 



MUST4PH\ KEMAL 

and a man, both, according to the worried Dr Adnan’s 
ad\ice, in need of a woman’s care Fikne, “delicate 
and devoted, but not shrewd enough to make her great 
man marry her,” half-fearfully believing that if she 
remained patient and hopeful her consuming love must 
be rewarded with his, bowed in silence at the old lady’s 
scathing comments on the younger generation, meant 
for her 

Rested and confident, Kemal went back to lead the 
final march on Smyrna ‘ Soldiers, your goal is the 
Mediterranean,” he concluded in ringing voice a speech 
to his army, and the drive was on Four and one-half 
Greek divisions were trapped and left in heaps in one 
narrow valley Kemal “purred like a royal tiger ” The 
two highest Greek commanders, Tncopis and Dionis, 
were captured and brought to his office where he gave 
them an egotistic but sportsmanlike reception He en- 
gaged them in length in discussion of their mistakes 
in the game of war and how these might have been 
avoided or rectified, but when they fell to quarreling 
between themselves as to the blame for the collapse, 
he felt disgusted and cheated at having been matched 
agamst such material 

The Allied consuls sent a proposal to give over 
Smyrna, accompanied by patronizing cautions about the 
treatment of the people Kemal pounded his table 
“Whose city are they giving to whom?” he asked On 
September 9, 1922, his troops entered the city, and 
the last of the Greek army took ship, leaving huddled 

r 293 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


on the wharfs thousands of miserable, terrified Greek 
and Armenian civilians Five days later holocaust cli- 
maxed the horrors of yeais The fire broke out m the 
Aimeman quarter, crowding the population toward the 
quay General Ismet’s headquarters claimed the fire 
hose in the city was found cut to pieces Dynamite and 
munitions hoarded under churches and in private homes 
exploded In three days beautiful Smyrna was a black 
and cnmson ruin 

“After the Greeks we will fight one another,” said 
Kemal sardonically, referring to the rising fear of his 
power and growing political opposition “When the 
struggle ends it will be dull — ^we must find excitement 
somewhere I” 

On August 4, Lloyd George, rendering no other help 
to his tools the Greeks, rewarded them with a fiery 
speech of endorsement Poincare replied bluffly by 
announcing on September 19 that France refused to 
join m operations against the Turkish Nationalists and 
advised withdrawing the Allied establishment from 
Chanak, which Kemal planned to attack next The 
British Parliament at last dismissed Lloyd George, 
Bonar Law succeeded The Allied Powers suddenly 
found no reason not to deal with the “outlawed” gov- 
ernment at Angola On September 29 at the Moudania 
Armistice, France, England, and Italy agreed to with- 
draw troops from Constantinople, retire the Greek 
forces, and vote Turkey into the League of Nations 
Protection of imnorities was all that was left of the 

[294] 



MUSTAPHA KEiLAJL 

British plan to create an independent Armenian state 
Kemal in turn engaged himself not to send troops to the 
European side But Refet Pasha went into East Thrace 
to prepare the culminating coup d’etat The British 
sent naval reenforcements to hold Chanak at all 
odds 

Diplomatic legalization of what had come to pass 
would eventually follow 

There remained no Power or combination of Powers 
likely to attempt Europe’s aim of extirpating Turkey 
Almost all Great Britain had fought for in the East 
was abandoned Kemal had saved his country to his 
people There now remained the task of building a 
nation to retain, and prosper, in it 

III 

Kemal’s next, even more heroic task was to be his 
country’s transformation from a medieval ecclesiocracy 
into a modem national society Kemal’s venture 
amazed the whole world Particularly to the cock- 
sure West, the tmth comes as a surprise when the 
Onent, thought slaughtered and merely waiting to be 
butchered, suddenly demonstrates m men like Kemal 
that it carnes within itself the spark of its own vivifi- 
cation 

After the victory of Sakharia, Mustapha Kemal ad- 
dressed the Assembly on the aims of the new Turkey 
“We demand nothing more than to live in complete 

[ 295 ] 



EMINENT A.SIANS 


independence within the limits of the national frontiers, 
we demand only that Europe make no attempt against 
our natural rights that she admit for us what she 
admits for every other people ” Seizing the prestige 
and ardor of the moment of victory, he began the su- 
preme task of “winning the peace ” 

Kemal at first received personally and freely all who 
came to interview him, explaining earnestly his motives 
and his hopes for the future His words were distorted, 
his messages garbled, and his personality misrepre- 
sented Ultimately he realized that he had no chance 
against the chauvinist press of England, the rhetorical 
press of France, and the jealous press of Constantinople 
Correspondents came with one intent — -of injuring him 
They branded the movement “Kemalist,” as if he were 
some rebel upstart He resented the term as he did 
not want to establish “Kemalism” but a new Turkey, 
nor did he wish to incite the resentment of the Nation- 
alists He beheved Napoleon’s failure was due to his 
ambition for personal glory rather than for a cause 
(It is interesting here to note how differently the Rus- 
sians felt about the term “Lemnist,” which was accepted 
with alacrity ) In Kemal’s reasoned but determined 
way, he excluded unofficial interviewers altogether 
Years later, when newspapermen wished only to eulo- 
gize him, he was to excoriate their fickleness and to 
adhere rigidly to his rule Therefore he receives sur- 
prisingly little publicity compared to the other dictators 
of the world 


[ 296 ] 



MUSTAPHA KEM4L 

When Kemal had become convinced of the supercili- 
ousness, unfairness, and deep-seated hostility of the 
West, he became a part of the general Asiatic protest 
and sense of affront against the West, and accepted 
support from Russia and encouragement from Japan, 
China, and India In 1920 Tokyo and Constantinople 
had for the first time exchanged ambassadors The 
Japanese diplomat had been one of the first to see that 
the real power would come out of Angora 

His revived Turkey was promptly claimed by re- 
ligionists as the hope of Islam, but Kemal soon made it 
clear that he did not sympathize with pan-Islamism or 
militant religionism His gorge rose at the conception 
that the Turkish nation existed only for the glory of 
Islam To his mind, the ideology which had destroyed 
the empire was the subjugation of the political entity 
to religion The continual warring against the infidel, 
the sacnfice of Turkish power and progress for the 
traditions, superstitions, and propagation of Islam was, 
to his thought, a betrayal of the nation — the use of the 
nation for purposes outside and beyond the nation 
Not that Kemal was not a willing believer in Allah and 
his prophet, and an ardent, uncompromising upholder of 
Muhammadanism as the basis and unifying factor of 
Turkish culture But as Trance had repudiated Ca- 
tholicism as an enforced or national religion, so the 
national life of Turkey was to be separated from and 
to become mdependent of the religious life Briefly, 
Kemal was a modernist emerging from a medieval so- 

[ 297 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


ciety and destined to make the same change in its 
thought in one generation He did not, of course, 
stand alone m this view Before him, as before Sun- 
Yat-sen, Gandhi, or Lenin, currents of thought cleared 
the way and created a new intelligentsia — the well- 
spring of the revolt m all Asia’s nations But Kemal 
was the one in his land who gave voice to the group, 
organized it, and led it to supremacy 

When Mustapha Kemal entered Smyrna in triumph 
he did not imagine that he was going to meet a power 
by which he was to be conquered From youth he 
had been too busy and cynical to fall m love “You 
may spend your affection on women, but I have my 
horses,” he had remarked to a companion at cards 
“They give better return and satisfaction ” Like all 
Orientals, his affection for woman had gone, primarily 
to his mother Now, however, when he had less time 
than ever for affairs of the heart, romance awaited him 
It came not, as with Sun Yat-sen, in the valley of 
failure, but on the very peak of victory and achieve- 
ment 

In the early days of the Turkish offensive, Latife 
Hanum, the lovely young daughter of Mouameron 
Chaki Bey, a rich and influential merchant with con- 
nections on the New York Stock Exchange, had returned 
to her home in Sm3n:na from a visit to France to fin d 
her parents were away from home and the city in a 
terrifying state of disorder 

[ 298 ] 



MUSTAPHA KEMAL 

She had openly spoken her patriotic feelings, and 
the angered Greek authorities had accused her of se- 
cretly supplying Mustapha Kemal "with information 
They put guards around her house, allowed no visitors, 
and constantly threatened her arrest She was well 
aware of her danger in remaining, and of the fate of 
many of her friends of like beauty and youth, but she 
declined every opportunity to escape and lived in the 
great mansion at the top of a thousand steps, alone 
except for a few servants 

Latife, no doubt, owed some of her modernistic opin- 
ions to Halide Hanum, the novelist, whose pupil and 
unknown devotee she had been As early as the revo- 
lution of 1908, when she was a young girl, she had 
proclaimed that the Young Turk movement was “a false 
thing unless it not only released the male population 
from political serfdom, but also the women from social 
slavery ” She had lived in Pans and Biarritz, spoke 
French, German, and English fluently, and was a fine 
scholar of the Turkish language — a rare thing in the 
women of her country She was, at this time, taking 
up the study of law 

The handsome deliverer of their country appealed to 
the imagination of all Turkish women, and half the 
women of Europe, so it was natural that Latife should 
let her thoughts dwell upon him as she wandered 
through the vast, empty rooms of her house and waited 
for his victorious entry into her besieged city He was 
putting mto execution the things she desired and 

[ 299 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


dreamed of for her people Even the cause of social 
freedom for women was near to his heart, as it was 
to hers It was because of her undisguised champion- 
ship of him that she found herself virtually a prisoner 
in her own house She pledged to herself that he should 
have it as his headquarters when he should come 

Mustapha Kemal rode behind his vanguard into the 
city and entered the improvised staff headquarters tired 
and dusty from travel and battles He was somewhat 
disconcerted to find, waiting for him there, a beautiful 
young Oriental woman dressed in a Parisian gown, her 
veil worn around her hair, not covering her face She 
asked him, in the French of a Pansienne, if he and 
his staff would make her father’s home their head- 
quarters during their stay in Smyrna Surprised, per- 
haps a little resentful of her suggestion, which might 
have savored of effrontery, he at first refused, but when 
she explained her reasons for inviting him, he assented 
and moved with his staff to the luxurious quarters of 
the merchant’s home 

The first evening of his visit, the Ghazi found him- 
self talkmg to his hostess of his hopes and plans and 
problems as he had never talked to a woman before 
She was a sympathetic listener — a biilliant conversa- 
tionalist She seemed to him an embodiment of all 
the qualities with which he dreamed that Turkish 
womanhood, through freedom and education, should 
be endowed She had knowledge of the manners and 
customs of the West, with the basis of Muslem beliefs 

[ 300 ] 



[USTAPH'^ KEMAL 


hich kept her a true daughter of Islam Before they 
ud good night she had offered to assist him m secre- 
inal duties during his stay, as she was particularly 
iapted to the task of translating foreign communica- 
ons For four days they worked together over the 
ckiish foreign issues created by the victory Each 
;ght they had long talks during which the topic grad- 
illy shifted from impersonal themes to the inevitable 
ibject of “thee and me ” Kemal found her beauty 
id charm increasingly disturbing Halide represents 
m as strutting over a new “kill ” “She wears my 
cture in her locket,” he boasted “Half the women 
■ Turkey have your picture in their locket — ^it means 
ily their gratitude to the deliverer of their country,” 
le would have deflated him But no man could take 
that way And it is impossible to acquit Halide 
anum of a certain interested slant 
On September 16 she writes Mustapha Kemal Pasha 
Latife Hanum’s guest now Her house was the most 
leltered and remote from the fire He talked of her 
ost pleasantly m the car It all sounded like 
le beginnmg of home building for the hardy soldier 
; last He was not in need of her wealth 

We passed through a pleasant old Turkish garden which 
rerlooked the blue waters of the bay The steps leading 
D to the veranda and the veranda itself were muffled with 
y, wistaria, jasmin, and roses m charming profusion and 
sorder A very little lady in black stood at the top steps and 
;ceived us Although she was said to be only twenty-four 
: the time, she had the quiet manners and the maturer ways 

[ 301 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


of a much older person Her graceful salaam had both dignity 
and Old World charm She wore a black veil over her hair 
and her face was very pleasing in its somber frame The face 
was round and plump, so was the little body Although the 
tight and thin lips indicated an unusual force and will power, 
not very feminine, her eyes were most beautiful, grave and 
lustrous and dominated by intelligence I can think of their 
color now, a fascinating brown and gray mixed, scintillating 
with a curious light 

Mustapha Kemal Pasha disappeared for a little time and 
came back dressed in white His colorless fair hair brushed 
back, his coloiless fair eyebrows bristling as they always do, 
his pale blue eyes gleaming with internal satisfaction, he stood 
by a table covered with drinks She sat on the sofa by me and 
looked at him all the time She was dazzled by him and 
he was frankly in love So the strong curient of human 
attraction between the two enlivened the evening He said 

“We are celebrating Smyrna — you must drink with us ” 

As he raised his tiny decanter of raki he pointed at me 
and said “This is the first time I have drunk raki in the 
presence of this Hanum Effendi we were always a bit uneasy 
in her presence ” 

We passed the evening simply, listening to Mustapha Kemal 
Pasha’s talk He was enjoying this favorite hobby of his to 
the full 

“You still have the sign of corporal on your sleeve how 
is that’ We must change it at once,” he said Then he gave 
orders right and left, got three signs of sergeant-major, and 
Latife Hanum sewed one of them on my sleeve 

When I took leave finally, he said “Have you a coat in the 
car ? It is cold ” I had not 

“Wait a moment I am going to give you my cape” he said, 
and disappeared He came back with a long old gray cape 
I remembered it very well He used to wear it in the days 
when we were outlawed and condemned to death, and work- 
mg with infinite patience and passion for the cause How 

[302 ] 



MUSTAPHA KEMAL 

often he had sat wrapped m its ample folds by the fire the 
whole night, giving orders and making plans when we were 
expecting to be attacked and killed at any instant' When 
he put it on my shoulders I bad a vision of the great man in 
Turkish history— a vision even the figure of the present dic- 
tator cannot entirely efface I looked back as I went down 
the steps, the cloak trailing on the marble He and Latife 
Hanum were leaning over the rails and nodding 

On the fifth day of their association the first conflict 
of wills between the two strong, vital personalities came 
about, when Latife repulsed his passionate advances 
That she loved him she admitted, but only with the 
sanction of a marriage ceremony would she be his To 
him, this was no time for consideration of marriage, so 
he did the only possible thing under the circumstances 
— ^he abruptly left 

Four months passed, and the Ghazi maintained a 
complete silence Latife, thinking the conflict over, 
sighed little sighs, and then, as becomes a young lady 
of the modern school, turned to the next thing and 
prepared to go back to Pans and her study of law 
Suddenly, without warning of any kind, the Ghazi re- 
turned to the merchant’s house ready to yield his “prin- 
ciples” agamst marriage to her principles requinng it 
“We will be married, if it be at once'” he said So 
Latife conquered the conqueror and imposed her own 
terms She was to learn how ineffectual such terms 
could be — how short such a victory 

Events in the lives of the great soon take on the color 
of myth Already there are a number of versions of 

[ 303 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


the story of the wedding which took place so hurriedly 
According to one account the couple went out the next 
day and stopped the first tmam (priest) they met “I 
have decided to many Latife Hanum,” the Ghazi an- 
nounced to the astonished holy man, who at first could 
not understand what he was expected to do about it 
In vain Kemal repeated his many names and titles At 
last he assumed an air of command The tmam was 
convinced — the Ghazi’s air of command would convince 
the most skeptical The necessary words were spoken 
and Latife replied in the affirmative to the question 
“Do you accept as husband Mustapha Kemal Pasha 
m return for a gift from him of ten drams of silver 
and on condition of a nuptial indemnity agreed upon 
by you in the event of separation^” 

The possibility of the end of marriage was reckoned 
with at its beginning, it seems Nothing about “till 
death do us part” in that ceremony i The Turkish 
husband, until lately, had the right to divorce his wife 
by saying three times that she was divorced, or some 
equally simple recognized form That is changed now, 
and with the modernization of Turkey the divorce laws 
are not unlike those of America The Ghazi was to be 
invested with the power of granting divorces — in time 
to grant his own 

Another version of the wedding tells that a party in 
honor of the recapture of Smyrna was being held at 
the home of the merchant when Mustapha Kemal sud- 
denly and unexpectedly appeared He asked for Latife, 

[ 304 ] 



MUSTAPHA KEMAL 

who was m the kitchen supei vising the feast, and per- 
suaded her and her parents (who had come home in 
the interim^ to make the celebration a wedding party 
Among the fifty guests who were assembled there was 
a mufti, an official who coriesponds to an English reg- 
istrar, and he performed the ceremony The ring was 
purchased later by the representatives to the Lausanne 
Conference and brought to the couple by Ismet Pasha, 
who was as excited as a child over his romantic errand 

This was the first Turkish marriage ceremony to be 
performed with both parties present Always the groom 
had been represented by proxy Other ancient Turkish 
traditions were on their way toward oblivion through 
this union While on the honeymoon, a banquet was 
tendered Kemal at Konieh to which he requested that 
women should be invited For the first time, Turkish 
women weie present at an official function, and for 
the first time they were allowed to venture forth after 
the sunset call to prayer 

Before he went for his bride Kemal had ordered his 
adulative housekeeper, the wistful young Fikne, to a 
sanatonum m Munich for the tuberculosis she had con- 
tracted “She continued crying all the time,” said 
Halide Hanum, who chanced by when Kemal was seeing 
her off and pressed her hand in the darkness “I will 
stay a few days in Pans and get myself some beautiful 
dresses,” she told Halide, trying to convince herself 
as well that she would return attractively clothed and 
restored to love “She was in Smyrna,” Halide sets 

[305 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


down Fikrie’s thoughts 'Terhaps she thinks it only a 
passing fancy He might marry me when I come back 
He wouldn’t marry me before my consumption is 
cured ” The rest of the story is given as follows 

This was the last I saw of Fikne Hanum A woman who 
had been with her in the sanatorium at Munich told me of 
her utter collapse, her tears, the sorry love story which she 
repeated over and over again deliriously, when she was in- 
formed of Kemal’s marriages The little Turkish world in 
Munich which had received her in state on her arrival deserted 
her when they knew that she had no future any longer She 
had left Munich uncured in body, sick in heart, with only 
one merciful and pitiful woman to see her off I heaid the 
last of her from an official communique from Angora in 1923 
A woman called Fikrie Hanum, a distant relative of Mustapha 
Kemal Pasha, after trying in vam to gam admittance to 
Pasha, had shot herself not far from his house It is best 
to wish her peace in her grave 

r 

The lovely Latife accompamed her warrior husband 
to review his troops, sitting beside him as his aide, 
mounted on the Arabian horse which was one of his 
wedding gifts to her, dressed in a smart riding habit, 
her shining black hair held in place by a scarlet ribbon 
The Ghazi looked more severe, tall, slender, and blond 
than ever, in contrast to the dark, plump, merry little 
wife beside him 

A friend who visited him shortly after their mar- 
riage tells of the changes wrought in the Ghazi’s study 
by a feminine hand — ^how flowers were interspersed 
among the rich gifts of his admirers, his books, and 

[ 506 ] 



MUST^PHA KEMAL 

objets d’art in the long room where the culture of 
East and West met and blended as in the personality 
of its owner She interviewed the bride in her suite 
in the tower, where she sat like a little princess among 
her wedding gifts, and told of the great bond of similar 
interests which encircled her and her husband With 
perhaps too great fervor she threw herself mto the 
affairs of state which now consumed the Ghazi’s every 
moment She sponsored the proposed law of com- 
pulsory marriage which, however, was not passed The 
law which abolished polygamy, combined with the post- 
war financial difficulties of the men of Turkey, had 
made the increasing number of bachelors and the 
rapidly increasing number of unmarried women alarm- 
ing in a country where ‘‘old maids” had been unknown, 
and Latife apparently wanted all other country women 
to enjoy the same blissful state as herself She al- 
lied herself with many new movements and reforms and 
received surprising recognition from the Nationalist 
Party 

In the interim between his courtship and his wedding, 
Mustapha Kemal had had full revenge against the wav- 
enng Sultan With his customary ability to wait he 
had been watching for the moment to act It came with 
the Allied invitation following the taking of Smyrna to 
a peace conference at Lausanne, extended to the Sultan 
and the Nationalist government, to Greece, Jugo-SIavia, 
Rumania, Japan, the United States, and in part to Rus- 
sia and Bulgaria Kemal mtended to have Turkey no 

[ 307 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


longer represented m conferences by two delegations, 
and he and his assemblymen were angered by the 
“brazen proposal” of Tewfik, the Sultan’s premier, to 
share in the negotiations over Angora’s victory, which 
he had in every way hindered On October 1 , the Ghazi 
turned over his president’s chair to Dr Adnan and 
made the fiery speech which brought forth the historic 
proclamation headed “Down with the Ottoman Em- 
pire, Long Live Turkey'” declared a new sovereignty 
in Turkey, abolished the Sultanate and the Ottoman 
Empire, voided all official acts of the constitutional gov- 
ernment since March 16, 1920, and provided that the 
Caliph instead of bemg the Sultan should henceforth be 
a purely religious dignitary elected from the house of 
Osman Kemal celebrated with his associates that night 
at his home, Tchan-Kaya, until four in the morning, and 
as all became mellow with wine they made bold to re- 
prove him for using “desperadoes” in his political 
schemes “They are only the tongs with which to handle 
dirt,” he assured “I will never allow them to come 
between me and my real brothers ” Yet he was soon 
to be estranged from most of them On the fourth, 
Refet Pasha, getting mto Constantinople from Thrace, 
conducted a coup d’etat under the very noses of the 
Alhed garrison and forced the Sultan’s government to 
resign He then demanded its evacuation from the High 
Commissioners On the 17th the Sultan-Cahph and a 
portion of his harem went on board the British battle- 
ship Malaya to refuge m Malta Abdul Mejid Effendi 

[308] 



MUSTAPHA KEMAL 


accepted the Caliphate — for what proved to be a very 
brief term 

The “Sublime Porte” had gone out of existence 
President Kemal headed a unified nation Three days 
later Ismet Pasha entered the first conference at Lau- 
sanne to require from the Powers of the world an utterly 
new attitude toward a renewed people 

On the eve of the conference where Kemal, through 
his able representative Ismet Pasha, was to defy the 
world and assert the existence of the new Turkey, a 
colorful gathering of the young makers of the nation 
had been held on the heights above the Sea of Marmora 
The vivid picture and the strikmg conversation are pre- 
served for us by the enterprising Madame Berthe 
Georges-Gaulis Kemal seated Madame Gaulis at one 
end of the table and occupied the other end himself, 
filling the places between them with the principal mem- 
bers of his staff He alternately called upon his favorite 
poet-friend Yahya Kemal, with whom he frequently 
collaborates, to recite, and stopped him to describe to 
Madame Gaulis the heroes she had about her 
Yahya was reading his poem called “The Voice” 
“The Turkish bard comes back to the Bosphorus, he 
feels recovered from death and rests in the light of the 
Turkish sun, setting m the Bosphorus ” 

“The Turkish sun doesn’t seti” impenously inter- 
rupted the Pasha “Red rose, death, love, the Bos- 
phorus' Ah' these poets' they are incorrigible ” 
Then he, who is noted for never praising his fnends, 

[ 309 ] 



EMINENT ASL\NS 


began to tell, m smooth-flowing, musical French prose, 
of the many virtues of his colleagues — ^particularly of 
Ismet, to whom he referred as 

the best, the nearest to perfection among us all Not only 
do the Turks of Turkey and of the whole world know exactly 
what his Nationalism signifies, but the Muslem peoples admire 
him as the defender of honor, of vntue, and of probity The 
National Assembly has full confidence in him 

Turkey has generals of great courage and worth, all are 
strongly united The highest virtue of Ismet Pasha is to be 
for all of them the best of comrades His gieatest friend is 
Kiazim Karabekir Pasha I myself knew at the first hours 
of the struggle, well before they got to Erzerum where they 
were going to join me — ^I knew that those two strengths as- 
sured happiness to the Turkish people and the Tuikish coun- 
try Knowing that I had confidence, my energy was doubled 
The day that the National Government was constituted, while 
many were still hesitating Kiazim Karabekir, without waiting 
for instructions so slow to come, fixed our eastern frontier 
himself by force of arms, surmounting all the incidental diffi- 
culties by his intelligence, his hardihood, and his military 
capacity 

His politics, his sense of organization, enabled him to create 
an army with which he marched eastward He thus gave 
us our victory of Kars, he took from the enemy more can- 
nons than Ismet Pasha could count after our recent victory 
He sent us the good news that stable conditions had been 
reestablished m that corner of the country That news was 
the first sign of strength in the National Government 

Every one then understood, in Anatolia that the Turkish 
nation still had all its strength and vitality, and none more 
than Ismet appreciated the immense services rendered the 
country by his friend Kiazim Karabekii No one knew better 
how to make them appreciated by the National Assembly 

[ 310 ] 



J^IUSTAPHA KEM4L 


We also o-we that, as many other things, to Ismet Pasha He 
at once saTv the moral scope of the successes of his comrade, 
which were to decide hesitating souls to turn to us I shared 
that sentiment, but I did not let it be seen, for I like each 
of us to have full responsibility for his acts 

Mustapha Kemal then turned to intellectuals sur- 
rounding him, bringing them in to his talk, one by one 

Thou Moueddine Bohali, O deputy of Brussa, thou who 
chantest the charms of thy city, thou, Hamdoullah Soubhi, 
celebrated national orator, all jou who were entirely attached 
to our cause, j-ou never rose to speak, when the National As- 
sembly attacked Kiazim Karabekir It is I that had to 
mount the platform and impose silence on those foolhardy 
ones' I told them practically this “Gentlemen, j-ou are not 
of sufficient strength to understand a man like Kiazim Kara- 
bekir Pasha You’d do better not to wear> j ourselves further 
m the enterprise excuse me for saying it, it would be an 
impertinence Let that man, whom the nation loves with all 
its heart, fix the frontiers that he has reconquered” They 
shut up, and foimd nothing to answer 

As Ismet Pasha sat, absorbed in thoughts of the task 
which lay before him, and the listeners grouped around 
the Ghazi occasionally interpolated a word or joined 
in a discussion, Kemal reminisced about his early strug- 
gles and hard-won victories, gradually coming back to 
Ismet Pasha and the work at hand 

“All we are worth to-day,” he said, “aU that we main- 
tain, we are committing to Ismet Pasha He is our 
representative before Europe The fashion in which 
she may treat him is the touchstone of its sentiments 

[ 311 ] 



EMINENT ASIA.NS 


toward us Certainly we want peace, we desire it 
ardently, with all our heart, with all our soul But if 
they force us to it, we’ll manage to carry on warfare to 
the end Am I wrong in calling for a halt before 
Chanak? The Lausanne conference will tell ” 

As he concluded his talk his voice grew crisp and 
metallic, and his steel-blue eyes narrowed “I have 
said before you all to Ismet Pasha what I expect of 
him, what Kiazim Karabekir expects of him If, by 
misfortune, Ismet should not respond to the hopes of 
the nation, he would have us all against him But he 
has assured us that supported by the friendship of 
France,” and here he eyed the French woman diplomat 
shrewdly, “he will get us a firm peace, the peace that 
we await to reconstruct our home and give back our 
men to their fields He has told me ‘My dear Com- 
mander-in-Chief, stay where you are and give me free- 
dom to accomplish this task without the use of my 
army, which is capable of crushing the English force ’ 
And I responded to Ismet ‘Go to Pans, go to London, 
get them to understand us, make peace I will accept 
the conditions that you will accept But if you come 
back empty handed, we will all do our duty The essen- 
tial for our nation is to act together — ^without the abso- 
lute accord we would not exist ’ ” 

None of the Turks broke the grave silence which his 
words spread Finally the Frenchwoman eased the 
tenseness by asking the Ghazi to describe his recent 
victory, “In rapid, close-knit words,” she says, “he 

[ 312 ] 



MUSTAPHA KEMAL 

showed us the slow preparation, the tragic argumenis 
with himself, the risks that always subsist at the time 
when the final considerations of the problem m hand 
were being weighed According to his invariable meth- 
od he had long meditated on his plan, and the solutions 
were logically linked together without any gap ‘The 
rest was nothing, the execution was easy But the most 
difficult thing remains to be done, to utilize the 
victory ’ ” 

Still Ismet sat m silence How difficult a thing it 
was to follow the Ghazi’s instructions — ^to make Europe 
understand the demands of the revivified nation, and 
accept them, was soon to be found With this task at 
hand, it is not strange that Ismet should seem preoccu- 
pied during the “threatemng” praise of the demanding 
Ghazi and the discussion that followed 

With Oriental wile, Mustapha Kemal Pasha used this 
indirect means to forestall a rift between his two most 
important men, Ismet and Karabekir, and as well to 
warn them both as to who was, and intended to remain, 
their master 

Almost a year after the battle of Sakharia, the Greeks 
were finally cleared from Turkish soil, and Kemal was 
besieged with requests from his enthusiastic army to 
allow them to break through the Allied lines and put 
the foreign forces out of Constantinople He told them 
to await the outcome of the Lausanne conference 
Ismet Bey found a series of difficulties and misunder- 

[313 3 



EMINENT ASIANS 


standings awaiting him at Lausanne m spite of the 
Franklm-Bouillon and other treaties 

The possibility of a war with England, which would 
have necessitated a militaiy alliance with Russia, wor- 
ried the people of Turkestan and othei Muslem peoples 
who were represented at the conference and who 
dreaded being in the power of Russia These things 
had to be considered, and Ismet Bey, who had been in 
daily touch with Kemal, returned from the first con- 
ference with no decisive result — other than Latife’s wed- 
ding ring Both he and Kemal were reproached 
bitterly for this and there were murmurings of dis- 
satisfaction because the orders to march on Constanti- 
nople were withheld 

In the unsettled conditions which followed the armi- 
stice, all patriots had been welded together by martial 
necessity Now factionalism appeared, and men ex- 
pressed cnticism of Kemal the political leader that they 
had not felt concerning Kemal the militaiy hero Was 
he plannmg to assume dictatorship over the country he 
had saved? What program would the National As- 
sembly undertake? What laws would be enforced, 
what reforms instituted? These questions the Turkish 
people asked themselves The Old Turks resented the 
prospect of enforced westernization It was an auspi- 
cious moment for Kemal’s enemies among old Mos- 
lems, “Friends of England” societies, and English, 
Greek, and Indian agents generally to sow seeds of re- 
volt among the people— and for suspicion of some of his 

[ 314 ] 



MUST^PH-^ KEM4L 

most sacrificing comrades to grow in his mind The 
old Union and Progress Society raised its head m oppo- 
sition to President Kemal Opposition was insurgency, 
to the Ghazi And association of his friends with it to 
him was treachery 

The President went on a speaking tour to content 
the grumblers in the eastern villayets and Turko-Syna 
Nothing could show more clearly the adoration of the 
people for their savior than a description of his address 
at conservative Brussa, original capital of Osman the 
Great, in the large cinema hall, where he solemnly 
received the delegation from Stamboul The war or- 
phans, proudly wearing their uniform, were massed 
about Men and women teachers predominated in the 
audience — the women three times as numerous as the 
men, their faces uncovered, uniformly dressed in the 
black charchaf The eyes of the excited, eager crowd 
were fastened upon the platform, wheie the chiefs of 
the new Turkey sat, all in colorful uniform except 
Mustapha Kemal Pasha, who was m European dress 
A huge Turkish flag at the back of the stage formed 
a striking background for his fine head, as he rose to 
speak The women wept, some of them sobbing un- 
restrainedly The eyes of the men also filled with tears, 
and frantic applause followed his periods 

“We have gained a great battle,” he told them, “very 
great, very complete Nevertheless that is nothing, if 
you do not come to help us Gam for us the battle of 
education, and you will do more for your country than 

[ 315 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


we have been able to do It is you to whom I appeal ” 
He urged the necessity of women sharing the social life 
of the nation, of attaining full development through 
modifying outworn customs “And all that will still be 
nothing,” he continued, “if you refuse to enter reso- 
lutely into the modern life, if you repel the obligations 
which it imposes You will be lepers, pariahs, alone in 
your obstinacy, your customs of another age Remain 
yourselves, but learn to take from the West that which 
is indispensable to the life of a developed people Let 
science and new ideas come in freely If you don’t, 
they will devour you ” 

His emotional people were stirred by the words of 
the Ghazi, by his authority, his radiance, to such an 
extent that they stretched out their hands to him, and 
as he left the hall tried to touch him, to kiss his hands, 
his coat Their one thought was to express^ somehow 
their gratitude, their adoration, of this great man who 
had saved them and who promised them still greater 
victories 

The Mosul controversy grew so hot that war was 
threatened between Turkey and England over it Both 
held Mosul by conquest Turkey claimed it as of 
supreme importance to her, while England needed it 
to “secure Mesopotamia and Suez” — ^and for the oil 
The Union and Progress Society, even while organizing 
opposition to the ruling government and showing great 
anxiety to step into power, gave full support to the 
government when threatened by external crises. 

[ 316 ] 



:must4ph\ kemal 

The first few months of his married life, followmg 
his triumph over the Sultan at the time of the second 
Lausanne conference, were not easy ones for Kemal 
He was faced at the same time with preparations for 
the coming election, political jealousy and internal dis- 
cord, growing financial difficulties, and threat of for- 
eign war The Sultanate had been abolished and the 
Assembly given the right to elect the Caliph The 
residents of Angora, who had won their place with great 
sacrifice and effort, showed resentment at the continual 
arrival of political recruits from Constantinople The 
second conference at Lausanne seemed to drag on in- 
terminably without any satisfactory conclusions Tur- 
key began to treat with England toward a separate 
peace and to look toward America for financial re- 
enforcement Yet Kemal, beset with dangers, dreamed 
of reuniting the Turkish peoples of Asia — of the time 
when Turko-Mongols and Caucasian Tartars could be 
united with Turkey He won by playing the feared 
Russian menace against Great Britain 

The British made a peace which preceded the final 
signing of the treaty in July, 1923 They evacuated 
Chamak, then Constantinople itself Kemal would 
shortly have been compelled by the growmg indigna- 
tion and assurance of his people to attack them From 
their viewpoint this saved Turkey from Soviet penetra- 
tion, repressed the efforts of Communism to gam a foot- 
hold in Anatolia, lessened French influence in Turkey, 
and aggravated the dissonance between Turkey and 

[317] 



EMINENT ASIANS 

Egypt and the Muslems of India over the modernistic 
trend in Turkey 

Having upset the hereditary nature and secular 
power of the Caliphate, Mustapha Kemal soon found 
himself driven by the hostility of the “fundamentalist” 
Mussulmans to go the whole way and abolish the hier- 
archical institution altogether They were taking ad- 
vantage to make it the center for plots against Kemal 
So in April, 1924, his obedient Assembly expelled the 
new Caliph and declared the Caliphate unnecessary to 
orthodox Muhammadanism Sir Valentine Chirol, 
noted authority on Turkish affairs, says of this “The 
pro-Tuikish agitation among Indian Muslems shortly 
after the war had as its only justification the fact that a 
defeated Turkish political power would j'eopardize the 
Sultan’s discharge of the exalted functions of Caliph 
throughout the Islamic world Kemal exploited the 
agitation until it successfully defeated Great Britain’s 
Near East policy, then when he won the peace at 
Lausanne he waged war against a caliphate for which 
he had no further use Furthermore, it was he who 
subdued the agitation by abohshing the caliphate ” 

To fanatical telegrams of protest from the Muslem 
communities of Egypt and India, Kemal answered 

The dream of the centuries cherished by Mnslems that 
the caliphate should be an Tslarn’c go\cinmert luducl’ng them 
all, has never prov^'d reaivable It hac become la^liei a cause 
of dissensions, of anaichy or the wai beuicen the believers 
Better apprehended, the interest oi all has made clear this 

[318] 



MUSTAPHA KE¥AL 


truth that the duty of the Muslems is to arrange distinct 
governments for themselves The true spiritual bond between 
them IS the conviction that “all believers are brethren ’ 

The final adjustment of July 24, 1923 at Lausanne 
astonished the world which had regaided Turkey for 
a half century as the “sick man ot the East” w^ith its 
abolition of the “capitulations” and recognition of 
Turkey’s full sovereignty Mustapha Kemal had 
thrown off in two years these shackles of Western im- 
perialism which Yamagata and Ito struggled forty years 
to rid Japan of and that Sun Yat-sen fulminated against 
so bitterly But the same causes brought the effect m 
each case — ^possession of the “argument of cannon,” and 
j'ealousy among the Powers 

At the time Kemal won this great battle for his nation 
he was most beset by difficulties His most ardent ad- 
herents, yyishing to capitalize his achievements, over- 
stepped themselves with the proposal that absolute 
legislative veto and power of dissolution of Parliament 
be given the President It gave ground for increasingly 
jealous fellow-workers and politicians to cry “abso- 
lute dictatorship!” Kemal discreetly postponed the 
measures, but Rauf Bey, who had been a valuable offi- 
cial in the nationalist government, had broken off to 
head a oolitical opposition, and the hero Kiazim Kara- 
bekir, who had adopted two thousand orphans, turned 
his military headquarters into an academte teaching 
them music, hygiene, poems to machinery, and chivalry 
to women, to the discomfiture of his caricatured officers, 

[319] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


launched the shafts of the idealist against him The 
half-savage Kurds rose in a fanatical rebellion for the 
reestablishment of the caliphate There was the prob- 
lem of helping five hundred thousand Muslem repatri- 
ates, brought from Greece and other countries under the 
exchange of nationalities agreement, to reestablish 
themselves The Christian repatriates going the other 
way had help fiom the great American fund, but Near 
East Relief did not apply to Turks Bands of patriots 
who crossed over into Mosul were driven back by 
British airplanes Friction with the Soviet arose over 
Nationalist Party championship of the Turk-Mongol 
and Turk-Tartar groups on the Russian border 

Kemal’s years of work, with never more than five 
hours’ sleep daily, and often for weeks no sleep at all, 
now told on him Burdened with these and many other 
problems, he broke under the strain For weeks he was 
sick unto death To climax this crisis of his career he 
fell out of sympathy with his young wife Young and 
sensational members of the Nationalist Party, conjec- 
turing too freely regarding the president-dictator’s 
death for that person’s pleasure, suggested that Latife 
should succeed her husband, since party politics made 
both Ismet Bey and Rauf Bey unavailable 
Exercismg his steel will to the utmost, keeping un- 
flurned, the Ghazi showed himself “the Conqueror,” 
once again, gradually surmmmting his difficulties The 
Kurds were quelled, and Sheik Said, who would have 
made himself Caliph, was hung with twenty accom- 

[ 320 ] 



MUSTAPHA KEMAL 

plices Kemal passed the crisis of his sickness and 
recuperated rapidly The League of Nations awarded 
Mosul to Iraq — a less harsh way of giving it to Bntain 
Kemal advised against resistance but did not accept the 
award Then he vigorously attacked his domestic 
problem 

Latife left Angora suddenly, on a visit to her parents 
All the Nationalist ministers and party heads except 
Kemal were present with flowers to see her off The 
stern mind of the Ghazi and the brilliant, willful mind 
of Latife must have come into conflict sooner or later 
Still admiring one another’s genius, they formally sepa- 
rated The power to grant divorces had just been 
invested in Turkey’s president, so he was able to save 
any unpleasant court revelations by simply granting 
his own Latife was then twenty-two years old 

The effort of the world to pry into the significance 
of the divorce was unavailing The agents of the Ghazi 
proclaimed it a purely personal affair Latife, m an 
interview, said that she loved her husband and had done 
her utmost to help him realize his ambitions for himself 
and his country Their umon stood in the way, she 
said, of his further progress, and as in the case of 
Napoleon and Josephme, when it came to a choice 
between his future and his mate, the woman was sacri- 
ficed She hinted at a serpent who had poisoned the 
happiness of their Garden of Eden, but steadfastly 
refused to divulge who or what this serpent was 

According to the judgment of many onlookers, 

13211 


EMINENT ASIANS 


Latife’s masterfulness and her tendency to mix m politi- 
cal matters were to blame for the divorce A Parisian 
weekly, at the time, quoted a conversation of Latife 
with the Italian ambassador which made Kemal more 
resigned than ever to life without her She asked the 
representative of Mussolini how feminism was pro- 
gressing in his country “Feminism,” he replied with 
a smile, “has made little pi ogress m my country The 
women of Italy have their own way of interpreting 
feminism To them it means making homes and pre- 
senting their husbands with fine healthy children ” 
“Oh, how behind the times all that is,” exclaimed Latife 

The desire for offspring is deeply implanted in 
Oriental men Barrenness is cause for divorce among 
all Orientals, as with the Jews This marriage was 
childless It may be that even Mustapha Kemal is not 
proof against all the traditions of his race ^ And yet 
he had not, to 1929, remarried, and his adopted orphan 
children are all girls At any rate, he has not changed 
in his ceaseless effort to bring about the freedom of 
Turkish women since the failure of his first marital 
venture 

The government refused Latife a passport when she 
wished to accept lecture contracts from Europe and 
Amenca, as it was feared that she would openly criti- 
cize her former husband She was allowed to travel 
privately in Europe and live very quietly in Constanti- 
nople Kemal made a settlement of five thousand 
pounds on her The facts are unadorned by explana- 

[ 322 ] 



ilUSTAPHA KEMAL 


tion, either on the part of the Ghazi or his former 'Wife 
The marriage which had seemed to promise so richly 
was a failure, after all 

Private and official troubles operating together had 
been unable to crush Mustapha Kemal Pasha Sure of 
himself and his cause, he was as superior to defeat as 
Lenin or Sun Yat-sen In place of their quality of 
blandly ignoring adversity he possessed a supreme con- 
fidence in his ability to overcome it which unnerved his 
enemies He gave them the feeling always that he had 
resources which they had overlooked and upon which 
he would call at the strategic moment This character- 
istic fitted well with his ‘‘poker face” and aloofness 

KemaPs final trial was disaffection m his own politi- 
cal household Disclosures were made at Smyrna, just 
before his, visit there in July, 1926, that members of 
KemaPs parliament and other leaders who had worked 
with him in the Nationalist cause, had planned his 
assassination The trial the following September re- 
sulted m fifteen people, including his schoolmate aide, 
Colonel Arif, being condemned to death and the sen- 
tence of ten more to many years’ impnsonment Dr 
Adnan was accused but acquitted — ^he has been out 
of politics and imder suspicion since What Halide calls 
a “reign of terror” ensued, but it left Kemal as supreme 
as Mussolmi 

When these schemes failed, the British government 
gave up hoping for Kemal’s elimination and charac- 

[323 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


teristically changed its policy to one of flattery and 
suggestion of cooperation 

This caused Soviet Russia to offer a defensive and 
trade alliance and voluntarily accept Kemal’s uncom- 
promising position against Communism in Turkey 
Risking Russian disfavor he had caused capital punish- 
ment to be meted to Bolshevik agents Through the 
age-old rivalry between Great Britain and Russia, 
Turkey was assured of existence, as in the days of the 
sultans But the new and upstanding manner in which 
she began to take advantage of that rivalry, rapidly 
making herself independent of it, represented all the dif- 
ference between the new Ghazi and a sultan Mussolini 
sought relations with his fellow great man of the Medi- 
terranean, culminating in good will tours of Turkish 
and Italian students m one another’s countries 

Throughout the crisis in his personal career, Kemal 
found time to further his plans for his nation His aims 
are appreciatively set forth by C K Streit, who says 
“The crescent of Mustapha Kemal is no more the 
crescent of yesterday than our cross is the cross of the 
crusades That ‘far away look’ in his eyes dwells on 
a Turkey that I did not see, that no man has seen It 
was not m the cause of victory that he fought, this 
victorious general who, clad in civilian clothes, entered 
Smyrna m an automobile Nor was it simply to defend 
the hovels of sun-baked mud that the Anatolian peasant 
calls home It was to bring these peasants farm im- 
plements, railways, hospitals, to rescue them from 

[ 324 ] 



MUSTAPHA KEMAL 


Ignorance to wipe the hovels from the rich soil of 
Anatolia ” How like the aim of Lenin, and even 
Gandhi! Kemal, like these leaders, made practical 
experimentation in the economic improvement of his 
people almost his first interest His heart and concern 
were first with the simple Anatolian peasants who had 
been the backbone of his strength Near Angora he 
established a modern farm^ and marked increases in 
crops have convinced most ignorant peasants that 
machines have an advantage over their primitive 
methods 

In a manner revealing the mmd of the new Asia, 
Kemal set forth his hopes and methods in an address 
at Casamundi in 192S 

All absurd superstitions and prejudices must be rooted out 
of our minds and customs [he said], only thus can the light 
of truth shjne upon the people I can never tolerate the 
existence in the bosom of civilized Turkish society of those 
priraitive-minded men who seek material and moral well-being 
under the guidance of a sheik, possibly blind and hostile to 
the clear light of modern science and art 

Comrades, gentlemen, fellow countrymen f You well know 
that the Republic of Turkey can never be a country of 
dervishes, sheiks, and their disciples The only true congrega- 
tion IS that of the great international confraternity of civili- 
zation , to be a real man it is necessary to do liphat civilization 
demands The leaders of the tekkes [Muslem cloisters or 
monasteries] will comprehend this truth, which will lead them 
voluntarily to close these institutions, as they have fulfilled 
their destiny It is my duty to my conscience and to history 
to set forth openly what I have seen and felt The govern- 
ment of the Republic possess^ a bureau of religious affairs. 

[3251 



EMINENT ASIANS 


This department includes a numerous staft of imams, muftis, 
and scribes These functionaries are required to have a cer- 
tain standard of knowledge, training, and morality But I 
know that there are persons who, without being intrusted with 
such functions, continue to wear priestly garb I have met 
many among them who are not learned, or are even illiterate 
They try to prevent direct contact between the government 
and the people I should like to know from them, from what 
and from whom they received the qualities and attributes 
which they arrogate to themselves 

Kemal combated these slippery religious opponents 
in a unique manner His decree against the fez struck 
the funny-bone of the West, where it was regarded as 
either a frivolous or ridiculous excess of modernism in 
the East Kemal felt that some outward symbol of 
intellectual liberation was needed for the men equiva- 
lent to abolition of the veil for women, and it was natu- 
ral he should light on the over-played “headdress of 
the faithful” which traditionalists had already made a 
mark of opposition to the heresy of modernization 
How often a symbol of dress plays a dominant part in 
intellectual movements’ There have been the breeches 
in France, the “golf-caps” in Russia, the queue-cutting 
in China, the European coat and trousers in Japan, 
Gandhi’s homespun m India, the shortened skirts of the 
“suffragettes”-— evidence of how simply childlike still is 
the mind of adult man 

In all changes Kemal tended to be liberal with the 
church and traditionalists until forced to drastic meas- 
ures It was so with the caliphate At first he allowed 

[ 326 ] 



MUSTAPH4 KEMAL 

priests the use of the fez and turban But Kurdish 
spies and other plotters soon utilized this to exercise 
special influence Whereupon Kemal countered with a 
police regulation of an ultra-modern type — each wearer 
of the old headgear must possess a special license, bear- 
ing the name of the mosque where he serves, his name 
and photograph, which he must wear within his “top- 
per,” and show on demand Dervish monasteries were 
closed and dervishes and sheiks deprived of their titles 
and privileges 

Turkish women were not required by law to unveil, 
although they were threatened with arrest if they pub- 
licly criticized the dress reforms While cosmopolitan 
Constantinople and progressive Angora seldom see the 
veil any more, the women in outlying distncts of Ana- 
tolia have not all been courageous enough to discard it 
as yet Often the Ghazi’s appearance in a small town 
marks the first appearance of the women unveiled 
They lift timorous, trustful faces, white as those of con- 
valescents, to the savior of their country, and try to 
understand the new customs he preaches to them 

The naming of all the candidates for the Assembly 
at the fall election in 1927 by Kemal made him abso- 
lute ruler of his party and undisguised dictator of 
Turkey This power was bestowed upon him by the 
People’s Republican Party, of which he is honorary 
president Candidates had been previously selected by 
a committee of ten, but when every prominent Na- 
tionalist wanted to be a member of the committee and 

[327] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


yet none was willing to be judged or passed on by it, a 
general request arose for the Ghazi to solve the matter 
by choosing his parliament himself Naturally this 
enables him to quell any opposition element that might 
exist 

Dr Tewfik Rushdi Bey states that it will be neces- 
sary for Kemal to exert supreme power for five, perhaps 
ten years before the people will be able to avail them- 
selves of the new privileges he has won for them, and 
use their freedom wisely The development of the 
country’s resources, the building up of an adequate 
army, the education and freedom from religious tradi- 
tions that stand m the way of progress are the goals 
which he must attain 


IV 

m 

Eight years had passed since the young staff officer, 
Mustapha Kemal, had been sent from Constantinople 
by his jealous sovereign to rot in backward Anatoria 
He had had his revenge on conceited Constantinople 
He had made the Anatolia where his enemies reckoned 
he would be utterly ineffectual the bulwark of the nation 
and the nursmg ground of all Turkish progress 
At first the proud Mistress of the Bosphorus had 
shrugged her shoulders in depreciation Then, since 
he could no longer be ignored, Constantinople had re- 
signed herself to receive him He did not come 
Eventually she swallowed her pride and complamed 

[ 328 ] 



ilUSTAPHA KEMAL 

of neglect Kemal had awaited his own inclination 
Now, in midsummer of 1927, he signified that he would 
come He sailed into the Golden Horn on the yacht 
which had once belonged to the Sultan, and made his 
headquarters at Dolma Bagtehe Palace which was once 
the home of the Caliph Warships boomed salutes in 
honor of his arrival and sheep were killed in sacrifice 
to Allah on the pier of the palace, m the traditional 
reception to a Defender of the Faith There were 
elaborate parades The Ghazi marched past fifty miles 
of cheering people Fifty thousand electric lights 
gleamed from the minarets in place of the wicks float- 
ing m oil which had lighted the triumphal processions 
of former conquerors 

Perhaps those who know the Spartan simplicity of 
Angora, where the young Republic is earnestly striv- 
ing toward development, will wonder that the austere 
President would care to wear, even for a moment, the 
luxurious splendor of old Turkey However, in his 
speech at the palace, during the reception given him 
on the night of his arrival, he made it clear that he 
sought no personal triumph, but only the w^elfare and 
enlightenment of his people ‘'Turkey’s advance along 
the path of social and political development,” he said 
“will be guided by the light of science and civilization 
I proclaim this sacred purpose from the palace which 
formerly belonged to the ‘Shadow of God on earth,’ 
but It IS now the property of the Turkish nation, which 
IS not a shadow, but a sohd fact ” 

[329] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


In his Book of Mustapha Kemal, published in Con- 
stantinople in 1926, Abel Adam thus describes the 
change of feeling toward the caliphate 

We used to be taught that we belonged to the King, the 
Shadow of God on earth This implied that theie could be 
nothing to oppose the power of the Calif of Almighty God on 
earth, that there could be no society higher than ouis 
Whereas the facts were telling us that in all parts of the 
country there was plenty of misery and hunger, every year 
some section of the country was snatched away from us , we 
had a state weaker than the very least of the European 
Powers, going down in bribery, confusion, and immorality, 
begging the West for everything Yet we had a Shadow of 
God on earth with forty wives and forty boy-concubines, busy 
with making the nation swallow the idle fantasy of paiadise 
as taught through the medressehs We were deteiiorating from 
within It was only by coming m contact with the European 
knowledge and accepting the superiority of European men- 
tality and examining the miseries in the land of the Shadow 
of God on earth that we could understand the trutlf We dis- 
covered that the Shadow of God on earth was nothing else 
but an idol as powerless and as soulless as one of the Buddhist 
idols of India As Muhammed broke the idols in Mekka 
and Medina we also broke down these idols of Calif, med- 
ressehs, tekkes, and tuebehs This is the meaning of our 
Revolution and its benefit will be great to the people 

The separation of Church and State, begun when the 
caliphate was abolished and seculai education enfoiced, 
was made absolute in 1928 when a bill was passed at 
Angora eliminating all reference to religion from the 
constitution Deputies who were once required to 
swear before Allah in taking the oath of office now 

[330] 



MUSTAPHA KEMAL 

swear upon their honor instead For the first time 
in history an Asiatic Muslem nation, the traditional 
defender of the faith, has dared to set out upon the 
penlous but commendable path of religious freedom 
Mustapha Kemal has the cooperation of the mass of 
the people m an amazing way, although he must take 
precautions against both the overradical young genera- 
tion and the embittered conservative old one 

If the law against teaching Chnstiamty in the schools 
IS enforced by small fines, it should be remembered 
by Western supporters of mission enterprise that the 
mosque schools where the religion of Islam was taught 
by turbaned priests for six centuries have been re- 
placed by secular government schools How would it 
appear to deposed dervishes if foreign schools were al- 
lowed to teach Chnstiamty or Judaism when they are 
prohibited from teaching the young the hereditary re- 
ligion At one time, if a Turk changed his rehgion, 
he was automatically deprived of citizenship The law 
which guarantees religious liberty to all the citizens of 
Turkey is perhaps the most radical of any of Kemal’s 
reforms The clause in the constitution proclaiming 
Islam as the religion of the Turkish State has been 
removed In eight years Mustapha Kemal has put 
Turkey on the way to be as free from religious restraint 
as the United States While the change is in process 
It is felt that proselytmg in the schools must be banned 
If the change indicated an anti-religious attitude it 
would be ominous, but it can be put down as another 

[ 331 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


step in the Westernization process through which 
Turkey is passing Kemal lecognizes the fact that 
Europe produces no literate or illiterate “prophets” 
by whose revelations superstitious followers conduct 
their lives, promising untold joys of the next world if 
the present world be ignored and disregarded These 
prophets and revelations have been so powerful in Asia 
that they have dulled critical thought As Abel Adam 
expresses it “The mentality of Europe is the mentality 
of this world, while we live in this world we shall act 
by it The mentality of Asia is the mentality of the 
next world, in the next world we shall act by it ” 
Kemal has built as a monument to himself not only 
a nation, but a city Angora should, and doubtless 
will, as surely bear his name as Constantinople the name 
of the warrior emperor of Rome When Paul the 
Apostle was adventuring in Asia Minor, Angora was 
a Roman colonial city of high business and culture 
One of the finest surviving examples of Roman archi- 
tecture stands on the dusty hill top, but for many cen- 
turies it looked out on flocks of goats climbing over the 
surrounding rums Now a metropolis has again sprung 
up to replace the collection of flat-roofed mud huts 
In six years the population of Angora increased from 
5,000 to 80,000 The city swarms with workmen of 
all nationalities, for Kemal did not hesitate to import 
artisans m the trades which Turks had ignored The 
new city crests a high rock which rises abruptly from 
a plam Kemal has connected it with the sea by rail — 

[332 ] 



MUSTAPHA KEMAL 

beginning of his projected network of communication 
between the Black and Mediterranean Seas Through 
the centuries the land surrounding the city’s eminence 
had been allowed to become swampy Mustapha 
Kemal Pasha was the first Turk who waired against 
the mosquito, which he drove out as vigorously as he 
did the Greek It has been one of his great hopes that 
he might water his capital from a mountain lake sixty 
kilometers distant, and with that in view, he has built 
fountains and mams The improvements in sanitation, 
hospitals and medical practice, roads, police protection, 
and legal procedure are all the difference between medi- 
eval and modern conditions Statues, banned by the 
Koran and formerly prohibited by law in Turkey be- 
cause savoring of idolatry, adorn the parks and city 
squares There are three statues in Turkish cities of 
Kemal himself, in one of which the sculptor has made 
the “mistake” of representing him m the kalpak, a 
headgear he wore only for a short time after the fez 
was abandoned and before the hat had been proclaimed 
Turkey’s official headgear 

In 1928 Kemal caused to be issued a statement of 
Turkey’s financial status It is conclusive proof that 
the “sick man” is no longer sick Excepting the United 
States, Turkey was the only ex-belligerent country in 
the post-war world which refused to borrow This was, 
however, made possible by a wholesale debt repudiation 
by the new republic The statement claimed a surplus 
of three million dollars above the anticipated sum for 

[333 J 



EMINENT ASIANS 


1927-8 A State bank was to be opened, with the 
$500,000 government gold reserve and the sum realized 
from the sale of the State jewels The old Ottoman 
paper currency was to be taken from circulation after 
June, 1928 The Angora currency was fiist issued 
December, 1927 

The percentage of the total levenue spent by the 
Angora Republic for railroads and material improve- 
ments IS twenty-five per cent, as against thiee and 
one-half per cent spent by the old Ottoman govern- 
ment over a much larger area The Ottoman regime 
used only two per cent of its revenue toward education 
Angora spends at least twelve and one-half per cent 
m this manner These things prove m “cold figures” 
that Mustapha Kemal has indeed made the new Turkey 
“a solid fact ” 

Because of continued attempts upon the Ghazi’s life 
it has been necessary to guard his every step When he 
returned to Angora from Constantinople the secret 
police unearthed an elaborate plan to dynamite his 
tram, just in time to prevent its accomplishment 

He lives in a simple ten-room house set in a large 
garden He has adopted six daughters, war orphans, 
who resemble Amencan “flappers” as they stroll, un- 
veiled, through the gardens Recently he was caught 
by a camera dancing with one of the young ladies at 
the celebration of her marriage to one of his young 
diplomats His chief interest is in the well-stocked 
stables of his farm, where he goes each day to inspect 

[334] 



MUSTAPHA KEMAL 


the Arabian and English horses and gallops over the 
farm on his newest acquisition — a magnificent mount 
presented to him by President Doumergue of France 
He enjoys playing poker and is often heard driving 
back furiously late at night fiom his club, which fact 
his enemies have distoited into weird tales of debauch- 
ery His adherents reply that a fifty-year-old man could 
not live such a life and accomplish the colossal amount 
of work that he does — an obvious fact 
He IS indifferent to luxury requiring only plenty of 
fresh air, books, and music He alternates between 
great music of the West and the haunting melodies of 
ancient Anatolia, and always listens to music duung 
his meals, which consist alternately of European and 
Turkish dishes He goes in for dancing, no doubt to 
emphasize the new personal liberty of the Turks, and 

IS fond of jazz but condemns the radical Black Bottom 

« 

and Charleston He lives by no regular schedule — ris- 
ing late as a lule, but when a piece of work is m hand 
he plows through it rough-shod until it is completed 
In the fall of 1927, just before the presidential elec- 
tion, he prepared a 400,000 word speech for the benefit 
of peasant Anatolia (the facts being fairly well known 
m Constantinople and Angora) It was a complete 
resume of the building of the new Turkey He worked 
on it forty-eight hours at a stretch, exhausting one sec- 
retary after another, while his own superb energy kept 
him alight with vital force as it had during the Battle 
of Sakhana and upon many another occasion 

[335 3 



EMINENT ASIANS 


When he began his address, the great Assembly Hall 
at Angora was crowded with eager listeners, and there 
were radio connections with all paits of Turkey and 
the outside world At the end of the second day the 
radio connections broke, owing to stormy conditions, 
but the speech went on for six days, and the listeners 
remamed eager Even those who thought themselves 
familiar with the new Turkey’s history were amazed 
by some of the revelations his address contained Chief 
among these were the news that Turkey had seriously 
considered an American protectorate in 1919 — the Wil- 
sonian principles seeming the only gleam of justice for 
the defeated — and the announcement that high Muslem 
dignitaries had offered the caliphate to Kemal, who 
not only refused the traditional honor, but destroyed 
the caliphate itself as an outworn symbol 
In the formal dress of a European diplomat, the 
Ghazi stood before his people and logically and clearly, 
but with intrinsic dramatic force, unfolded the history 
of those events which had “pulled Turkey out of the 
trough of war,” revivified her, changed her from a 
monarchy to a republic, from a caliphate to an unde- 
nominational state, abolished polygamy, the fez, the 
veil, and all obsolete symbols of medievalism, adopted 
the cml code of Switzerland, the criminal code of 
France, and the commeraal code of Germany, adopted 
the Gregorian calendar, the twenty-four-hour clock, 
and many modern European methods 

He looked a little older than when he first had 
[ 336] 



MUSTAPHA KEMAL 

addressed them from that platform, his fair hair thinner 
over the temples, his profile sharpened, but the same 
air of majesty and kindliness held his audience spell- 
bound 

Sir Valentine Chirol, a famous authority upon Turk- 
ish history, believed five years ago that “democracy” 
in Turkey would only mean a new form of medieval 
despotism and questioned what use the nation would 
make of her new strength m the light of her past his- 
tory He now looks with amazement upon the changes 
Kemal’s leadership of the past few years has wrought 
He praises the “world’s record” six-day speech as an 
“unparalleled achievement” and says that the “circum- 
stances under which the six-day speech was given were 
also unparalleled ” He comments on the recurrence 
of the word “England” in the speech, as though upon 
England alone and not the Alhes in general rested the 
blame for Constantmople’s occupancy He sees Kemal’s 
sincerity of purpose demonstrated by his refusal to 
become caliph, and m the abolition of the caliphate he 
sees that “we in dealing with Islamic countries are 
inclined to overrate the potency of a religious factor 
which has so quickly crumbled away m the one country 
where it could be regarded as a formidable spearhead 
for the revolt of Asia against the Western world.” 

As fervently as Gandhi turns away from modem 
progress as the path to destruction, Kemal turns to 
it as the means of grace The Turkish peasant who 
once toiled, half-starved, in ignorance — his darkness 

fas?] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


lightened only by the “ecstasies” of some dervish or 
tmam as to the paradise awaiting him in the world 
to come — now sends his children to school and is able 
to feed them properly Instead of a degenerate Sultan, 
whose jewels were a fabulous fairy tale, living in idle 
luxury as the Shadow of God on earth, he is governed 
by a president whose greatest concern is the welfare 
and advancement of his people As to their spiritual 
welfare, it has been given into their own hands Per- 
haps the removal of such a symbol as the “Shadow of 
God on earth” would induce the people to look for the 
kingdom of God within themselves, demonstrable in 
this world as well as any other 



JOSEF STALIN 

JOSEF VISSERIONOVITCH DJUGASCHWILLY 




JOSEF STALIN 


I 


I N Josef Stalin’s cool, determined face with its casu- 
ally appraising ej es flaunting beard, and confident 
chm one may read the ruthless pragmatism of the 
modernized Asiatic element now dominating Russia 
Vladimir Ulich Lenin’s face on the other hand, was — 
and remains since it is preserved to view — a symbol 
of the combination which is his nation His Tartar 
ears, head, eyes, and cheekbones, his poetic, Gallic 
mouth and his nose '‘half of each” represent the amal- 
gamation between East and West which, m soul and 
mind as well as in blood, is the vast mergmg-land of the 
world’s two great avilizations For Stalin is an Asiatic 
from across the Caucasus, whereas Lenin was born on 
the Volga, where six hundred years ago conquering 
horsemen of the horde of Jengiz took the native 
“Scythian” women as prey and fathered that midway 
race which is now the enigma of the world — ^the deter- 
nimmg factor in the clash between Western dominance 
and Eastern resentment, Euro-American energy and 
Asiatic resilience 

Gradually Byzantine culture filtered north and made 
that race a nation Then Peter thei^Great discovered 
modern Occidental civilization and began the long effort 
to make the nation Western His was exactly the 
vision and effort of Mustapha Kemal in Turkey two 

[ 341 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


centuries later But Kemal’s people, down to the most 
primitive Anatolian peasant, are swept along by their 
awakened sense of danger and the enthusiasm of his 
personality Czar Peter’s people, on the other hand, 
felt no need for the drastic change of mental habit sug- 
gested to them So the mass remained apathetic, while 
the Czar’s apish courtiers alone adopted European cul- 
ture — and made of it a mark of caste and a tool of 
arrogance 

Then came Lenin, of the nobility which had profited, 
bitter against the superiority of his own caste, deter- 
mined to give the benefits of machine and school — 
foundations of the West’s luxury, strength, and pride 
— to the millions A revelation of driving motive is 
his famous order, issued while his government was in 
its greatest crisis and Moscow was ringed by armies 
“The peasants of Gorkii and Ziianova are immediately 
to be supplied with electric light ” His woishipers 
become as sentimental over the mcident as Lincoln- 
ophiles over pardons of deserting soldier boys The 
Americanizing of Russia was as urgently important to 
Lenin as the repulse of the White armies For the 
same reason he regarded the Institute for Standardizing 
Human Motions in Industry as important as the Third 
Internationale, and assiduously studied Henry Ford 
“Bolshevism is coftimunahsm plus electricity,” was his 
definition of the program of the new regime 

But by Westernization Lemn meant something very 
different from the imitative Europeanism pursued until 

[ 342 1 



JOSEF STALIX 

now by the obliterated aristocracy His plan was 
rather to use Western science, technique, and applica- 
tion to duty, to bring to fruition a truly Asiatic idealism 
— a Russian secretary’s idea of the millennium on earth 
— communalism substituted for competition, the indi- 
vidual submerged in the society He was opposed to 
such social concomitants of science and machinery in 
the West as plutocracy competition, preying, sweat- 
ing, manipulation of government by big business, and 
class pride, and believed that he was starting a violent 
revolution against these things which would shortly 
spread throughout that West, consummating the work 
begun by Peter the Great of bringing Europe and 
Russia together — ^but in a far different spirit the spirit 
of Asiatic Russia and not of Europe 
Lenm professed Marxism But in fact, he was actu- 
ated by the spirit of Asia, not that of the old German 
professor In 1903 he furiously set upon the true Marx- 
ists in the Social-Democratic Party, breaking it into 
the Bolsheviks who followed him and the Mensheviks 
whom he henceforth hated more than Czarists The 
Mensheviks accepted the Marxian eschatology of social 
development from feudalism through specialized capi- 
talism into socialism But Lenm based his new system 
not on developed industrial society but upon the primi- 
tive communal life of the Asiatic peasantry 
The worker in Russia is not a separate, city-bred 
product as in Europe In Russia as in China, India, 
and Japan, he is a projection of the peasantry, at the 

[343 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


most a generation or two removed from the soil, main- 
taining his connection with it and often going back 
to it If the mill hand in Osaka, Canton, or Moscow be 
asked “Where are you from?” he will not state the 
ward of the city which contains his hovel, but the coun- 
try district where his father or grandfather was born 
and where his clan is permanently attached to the land 
When his livelihood fails in the city, he turns to his 
country seat for succor Herein lies the strength of the 
Asiatic proletariat, as British shipping interests in Pa- 
cific Asia discovered when they attempted a seamen’s 
lockout 

Lenin called his work “the proletarianizmg of the 
peasant ” It was rather the peasantizmg of the factory 
worker — a developing of the principle of Asiatic peasant 
organization in the proletanat The immediate system 
of national government by soviet grew out of the calling 
of the Workers Council of St Petersburg in the revolt 
of 1905 — a spontaneous expression of the native gov- 
ernmental genius of Asia In modern Russia, Japan, 
China, Siam, or Turkey, this genius takes concrete form 
in adnunistration by a self-made dictator mellowed by 
adviser-assistants supported by a ruling group 

The failure of organized labor in Western Europe 
and Amenca to understand and respond to the idealism 
of Bolshevism drove it m its more natural direction 
Asiaward This tendency became clear during Lenin’s 
last two years, dunng which time he kept his move- 
ment on the opportunistically wmdmg path his political 

[344] 



JOSEF ST^IN 

sense deaeed by means of sharp notes to his lieutenants 
from his sickbed 

It fell to the man dubbed “Steel,” a pure Asiatic 
of Russia’s south countr}’- to carry Russia forward 
m its tendency Undei him the idealism of the Bol- 
shevik group was to become definitely secondary to 
pragmatism, its poetic theorism to Asiatic practicality, 
and its world program to repairing the national dignity 
Russia was to become one of the Asiatic peoples en- 
giossed in building power to compel respect fiom a 
West whose superciliousness has awakened the infeii- 
onty complex 

In Moscow begging for biographical material, I was 
told that men’s hves were important only in so far as 
they related to the “movement” and affected the 
“mass ” For example, a leader’s domestic and family 
relationships were worth recording only where they 
brought factors into the cause Since Krupskaia be- 
came Lenin’s chief aide it was related that he had a 
wife, of Stalin, although he hves qmetly in the Krem- 
lin wnth wife and child, it was not recorded in the new 
Communist Biographical Dictionary whether his status 
was multiple, plural, or single A man’s romantic loves 
received as little biographical notice as the number of 
times he breathed per minute This self-effacement is 
honest and lived up to Stalin himself proved as barren 
a source on himself as the newly compiled Communist 
Biographical Dictionary Only m the case of the 
sainted Lenin was there the beginning of an exception 

[345 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


to this attitude This one exception almost shows that 
It IS not worth while Lenin’s life when fully revealed, 
proves to be have consisted so completely of his work 
that the peasantry must spin myths to give him flesh 
and blood It is much the same with Stalin and other 
revolutionaries — save Trotsky 
The truly Asiatic spirit of submergence of personality 
IS here And the consequent paradox also In Russia, 
where pretense of ignoring individual personality is 
official and orthodox, personality molds the new world 
The personality of Lenin dominated the Russian revo- 
lutionary party, his strikmg mental make-up shaped 
its philosophy, and his growth was its evolution 
The personality of Stalin is its stabilizer m power 

II 

The Georgians bear the reputation in Asia of being 
one of that continent’s “fighting races ” Older than 
the Mongol incursion, they are of related stock to the 
Pathans, Turks, and Armenians reserved of speech, 
unconceited, easy to approach, and ruthless The 
imagination of the true Slav which so often sentimen- 
talizes his courage and muddles his purposeness is ab- 
sent m these Russians, in compensation they lack the 
Slav’s poetic sympathy and idealism 
Tucked in behind the mam ranges of the Caucasus, 
their little country of sun-scorched deserts and mist- 
drenched valleys largely escaped the invasion of Greek 

[ 346 ] 



JOSEt STALIN 

culture from the decaying Byzantine Empire Xor has 
it been greatly disturbed by outside influences since the 
Moguls of Tamerlane swept hastily over it en route 
to the plunder of Persia and Mesopotamia Even the 
conquering czars discreetly controlled the independent 
and semi-savage people of Georgia with gloved hands 
Many of them are Muslems the rest have become nomi- 
nal communicants of the Russian Orthodox Church 
Underl 3 nng both these religions is their true faith — 
a fabric of homely superstitions indicating means of 
taking practical adxantage of the gods, easily giving 
way before modern education to atheism 

Josef, son of Visserionoff came to increase the imme- 
diate burdens and mspire the ultimate hopes of the 
Djugaschwilly family m 1879 They were moderately 
well-to-do peasants, which meant that they lived in a 
flat-roofed mud house instead of a cane shelter and 
had a chair and a cellar stocked with roots and cheeses 
Their town was Gori, their metropolis flat-roofed Tiflis 
of the steep hill-slopes 

A cropper’s share from the landlord’s estate, obtained 
by the labor of the men, women, and children of the 
family provided food, and to obtain luxuries purchas- 
able with money Visserionoff made a last and began 
pegging at his neighbors’ shoes dunng light spells He 
showed craftsmanship and business ability and gradu- 
ally developed into a small-scale shoe manufacturer in 
the near-by village of Didi-lilo Josef, growing to com- 
prehension of his surroundmgs dunng this social evo- 

[347] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


lution of the family, was well equipped to understand 
the relationship between the peasantry and industrial 
worker m Russia Meanwhile he was learning to hold 
his own in contest of coarse wit or fist and heel fight 
by knocking about with the fraternity of street hawkers 
In the normal course of things he was to have suc- 
ceeded his father in the shoemaking business He was 
swerved from this course by Alexander Ill’s decree sub- 
sidizing clerical education — issued because, Stalin’s Bol- 
shevik biography put it “The government at that time 
wished to educate priests, needing the help of the church 
to fight revolutionary thought ” The lad’s mother, a 
pious member of the Greek Orthodox Church, warmed 
to the opportunity of her son’s being a priest and 
Visserionoff thought that a little education, since Josef 
had this chance to get it for nothing, would not go badly 
even with shoe manufacturing, and entered his burly 
lad, in early teens, as a novice in a clerical semmary 
Josef was to fail to prove a help in fighting revolu- 
tionary thought, but he made good use of his intellectual 
opportunities In him, as in the case of Mustapha 
Kemal, the old regime was preparing a leadership for 
its own overthrow Large, ummagmative, but with a 
flair for theory of government, gift for organization, 
and ambition for leadership, the lad became engrossed 
with “bootlegged” translations of Marx’s writings as 
soon as he had mastered the Russian language Read- 
ing this same technical German economist had inspired 
Alexander Lenm, the son of a school superintendent 

[ 348 ] 



JOSEF STALIN 

on the Volga, to concoct a plot which brought him 
execution His younger brother Vladimir vowed a 
vengeance on the established order which was to reach 
across the Caucasus and involve the yoimg rebel now 
painstakingly spelling out leaves of Marx concealed in 
a litany-book It is middle age, not youth, that requires 
Its reading sugar-coated 

Vissenonovitch began, in his quiet, almost sullen way, 
to interest his fellows in his find Some of them were 
more interested in a peaceful promotion into clerical 
life They reported to the priests, and Josef received 
an opportunity to argue Marx before them He suc- 
ceeded in convincing them that he ought to leave their 
school at once He was just nmeteen 

He went back to the shoe-last In the evening he 
deserted the shop to mingle with students of the vanous 
schools about Tiflis He organized several small Marx- 
ist circles among them Like Carey, his business was 
saving souls — although m a rather different creed, he 
cobbled shoes to pay expenses At seventeen he had 
been regarded by the radical fraternity as a full-fledged 
revolutionist, and dunng his first year out of school, 
upon a^isistinq in the illegal organization of railway 
workers m Tiflis, Baku, and Batoum, he was recognized 
by election to membership in the Social-Democratic 
Party 

With demand for no more by way of phvbical necessi- 
ties than a crust of bread and a plank bed with his 
sturdy physique, fearlessness, and taciturnity, he bc- 

[ 349 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


came a most valuable worker for the party The police 
hardly suspected such a man Their eyes were on 
anemic university students Visserionovitch had none 
of the ear-marks of the intellectual fanatic to attract 
their attention 

So he continued until 1902, when he was seized in a 
demonstration in Batoum, on the Black Sea There 
was evidence that he had been one of its organizers 
As a result he spent his first year of legal manhood in 
prison His sentence was then commuted to exile in 
Eastern Siberia He began an acquaintanceship with 
the Czar’s “corners of oblivion” which was to become 
unusually wide 

In 1903 was held the little conclave of party leaders 
in which the new young leader Vladimir Ilyich Lenin 
split the Social-Democratic Party and founded “Bol- 
shevism ” The news was not long in reaching, through 
their own “underground” system, the exiles in far Si- 
beria, and the controversy raged hot among little groups 
there Visserionovitch whole-heartedly took the Lenin 
side In fact, it might almost be said that Lenin had 
taken the Visserionovitch side The sense of funda- 
mental unity between workers and peasants based upon 
their common Asiatic traditions, and confidence in abil- 
ity to go direct to the goal without the guidance of the 
intelligentsia and without passing through an era of 
industrial capitalism, were natural to young “Stalin ” 

For because of his coolness, strength, and ruthless- 
ness his fellows had dubbed him “Steel ” His peasant 

[3S0] 



JOSEF STALIN 

roughness made it easy to fraternize with the guards 
He escaped from Siberia and returned directly to his 
home district to assume membership in the Caucasus 
Union Committee Rimnmg a great risk of identifica- 
tion, he assisted in bringing out vaiious revolutionary 
periodicals, and since then has not ceased to write in a 
direct, unimaginative, but clear and vigorous style He 
did not look like an editor, and so he was able to conduct 
hidden publications called Ftght of the Proletarmt and 
Baku Workman He was one of the first proletariat 
leaders to come out of the proletariat itself Already 
he was the unconscious rival of a brilliant Trotsky 
Stalin first traveled across European Russia as Caucasus 
delegate to the Bolshevik confeience of Tannerfjord 
Here he came into direct touch with Lenin, Zinoviev, 
Kameniev, Lunacharsky, and many other agitators with 

whom he was destined to assoaate in the government 

* 

of the United Soviet Socialist Republic Later he at- 
tended a congress in Lenin’s garret m London and is 
said to have visited Gorky in Italy 

Back m St Petersburg, he assisted in planning the 
outbreak of 1905 The Czar’s conscienceless councilors 
had planned a “small successful war” to check the 
growing imrest, the revolutionists welcomed the war 
as an opportunity to strike Stalin, like Lenin, how- 
ever, kept m the background, his associates fearing 
that direct activity on his part would bring him to the 
notice of the authorities They could be taken for first 
offenses and still live, but the arrest of men who had 

[351] 



EMINENT ASIANS 

before been convicted and bad escaped from exile would 
mean summary death 

The uprising — ^practically confined to a coup in the 
capital — failed The intellectual element, finding the 
bloody reality of revolution too much for their stomachs 
and being mollified by royal pledges of representative 
government through the Duma, deserted the cause 
Nicholas lelied upon a campaign of teironsm to crush 
the irreconcilables 

The little group of the faithful definitely turned to 
the proletariat It was the only thing left on which 
to pin hope 

They desperately needed money to propagandize the 
worker Lapse of interest of sentimental bourgeois 
friends stopped contributed funds Stalin, after trying 
bank-note forgery, went out in this ruthless, pragmatical 
way to get the money by “expropriation” — the start of 
a method and theory to be legalized after Bloody Oc- 
tober It consisted of “recovering” the “people’s 
money” by bold “political” banditry often involving 
many deaths The Tiflis robbery, carried out by a 
secret gang known as the “Trans-Caucasus Fighters” 
said by M Aldanov to have been led by Stalin, was 
perhaps the most spectacular “expro ” Lenin sent 
bombs from his retreat in Fmland The cashier of the 
Tiflis State Bank and his bookkeeper were conveying 
money under heavy guard, mounted and foot, from the 
post office to the bank, when from the roof of a prince’s 
house a bomb fell with terrific explosion, scattering the 

f 352 J 



JOSEF STALIN 

escort carnage containing the money The horses ran 
dragging the wrecked carnage amid the scene of indis- 
criminate firing, and bomb throwing followed m which 
fifty people were killed or injured A man m a droshky 
headed off the horses, dashed them, bleeding, to the 
grotmd with a bomb, seized his loot and drove away 
It was revealed after the Revolution that part of the 
money had been hidden in the upholstery of the unsus- 
pecting, pompous manager of the imperial Caucasian 
Observatory 

The police never found a clew to this bold exploit, 
but one year latei (1908) Stalm, with the entire revo- 
lutionary committee of Baku, was arrested on a charge 
of sedition, obviously on information from the inside 
He was imprisoned and then exiled to Vologodsky, in 
frozen White Russia In 1909 he escaped and went 
directly back to Baku, under the name of Koba Al- 
most at once “Koba” was arrested and exiled for six 
years to Solovitchigodsk — a place just a degree more 
northerly and God-forsaken than Vologodsky His 
tiemendous physique enabled him to walk away through 
the snows when neither guards nor other prisoners 
dared be outside He made his way painfully and cau- 
tiously back to the very capital of the government 
which condemned him — ^this time as Evanovitch Sev- 
eral months in revolutionary journalism there, arrest 
again, prison, exile again to Vologodsky where he now 
had to take special precautions to avoid those who 
had known the exile “Stalin”, reescape in December, 

[353 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


1911, rearrest in April, exile this time to Narim, escape 
to St Petersburg again in September — such was his life 
from 1909 to 1913 In the intervals between his es- 
capes and rearrests he was able to settle before the 
editorial desks of IzvesUa (“Star”) and Pravda 
(“Truth”), and of less regular publications entitled 
Worker and Soldier, Workers’ Way and Workei 
Lenin himself had founded revolutionary journalism, 
but he was now compelled to publish in western Euro- 
pean cotmtries and rely for results upon the few copies 
that could be smuggled in the false bottoms of trunks 
Stalin carried revolutionary journalism into the citadel 
of the enemy His prestige among partisans of a later 
time was to rest not a little upon this eaily connection 
with the two evangels of Bolshevism destined to become 
the official organs of a new tyranny 

In St Petersburg, as David Nijeradze, Stalin organ- 
ized the little Bolshevik group in the first Duma and 
acted as its chief Attention was soon drawn to him 
and in March of 1913 he was again arrested and exiled 
— to a place that held him this time Turukan inside 
the Arctic Circle Each of the five times that he was 
rearrested it was only chance that saved him from iden- 
tification as a second offender Had he been recognized, 
the Commxmist Party would have lost its future dic- 
tator 

Stalm was compelled to remain inside the Arctic 
Circle, helpless to take advantage for his cause of the 
great opportunity of the World War No member of 

[354] 



JOSEF STALIN 

the present Bolshevik ohgarchy received more “stripes” 
for the faith than he, took more risks, and suffered more 
imprisonments Others fled abroad and worked in 
safety from behind foreign boundary lines Stalin the 
imperturbable scorned such precaution Invariably, he 
returned to the very scene of his arrest to carry on his 
labor The prison tortures, the deprivation, the forced 
labor and isolation he was compelled to suffer would 
have broken a more sensitive mind or delicate body 
As with Lenin, Stalin’s entire life was his cause he had 
no interests outside it Like Lenin, he survived by a 
combmed will to power and natural asceticism The 
more highly strung Lenin saved himself as long as he 
did by a gift of relaxation and play In his Asiatic 
insusceptibility and capacity to wait, Stalm had an 
advantage over even Lenm 
Myths grew about him among the sympathetic peas- 
antry and proletariat He was the ogre, who, each 
time he was killed, reappeared in another shape He 
was the tiger, they whispered which had ten lives, the 
bad dream which the Czar could not prevent from re- 
curring He was the man of steel 
His guards nevertheless held him at Turukan until 
the Kerensky Revolution of February, 1917, and its 
political amnesty Then he returned to Petrograd and 
set to work organizmg soviets among the workmen, 
soldiers, and peasante Lenm found small groups pre- 
pared for swift action when he returned through Ger- 
many m his famous sealed coach Stalin brought about 

[3SS] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


the publication of Lenin’s piogram in Pravda, April 7 
In May his associates elected him member of their 
Pohtburo, and he began the painstaking organizational 
work which was to lead him to dictatorship of the 
party In July, Kerensky, forced to recognize that the 
Bolshevists were working for his downfall, ordered the 
arrest of Lenin, Zinoviev, Trotsky, Kameniev, Dzerjin- 
sky, Lunacharsky, and others Some went to jail and 
others mto hiding — ^Lemn and Zinoviev, with 200,000 
rubles “reward” on their heads, m a hayiick The less 
spectacular Stalin was able to continue working witli 
soldiers and laborers until the situation had ripened 
Trotsky, clever enough to procure release, assisted 
Lenin and Zinoviev escaped to Finland, but returned 
m disguise in October when Kerensky was falling to 
pieces On the famous twenty-fourth these returned 
exiles united with the zealots who had braved it through 
at home to foim the impromptu Central Executive 
Committee of the new Soviet government 
Stalin assumed by general consent the place of or- 
ganizing secretary He was not interested in making 
fiery speeches like Trotsky or writing hot proclamations 
hke Bukharin His interest was in the practical essence 
of the movement, not its showy surface Trotsky at 
once recognized m him a rival, but took the line of 
superciliously patronizmg him Stahn, on his part, 
was highly impressed by Trotsky In an article on the 
first anniversary of the revolution he paid him this 
tnbute 


[ 356 ] 



JOSEF STALIN 

work of practical organization of the October uprising 
was done under the immediate direction of Leon Trotsky, 
piesident of the Petrograd Soviet It can be stated with posi- 
tiveness that the party owes everything to Trotsky for insuring 
the rapid passage of the garrison to the Soviet side and the 
clever oigamzation of the working revolutionary committee 

The question of the attitude of the many minor 
peoples — mostly Asiatic — in Russia to the new regime 
and vice vei sa was a pressing problem To Stalin, the 
Georgian, who understood their aspirations and necessi- 
ties, his comrades entrusted the responsibility of secur- 
ing their loyalty He became the first People’s Com- 
missar of Nationalities and framed the policy of 
autonomy for racial groups and preservation of local 
languages and cultures which is such a puzzling feature 
of Bolshevism to those who know its emphasis on cen- 
tralization and standardization But Russia is a para- 
dox — K combination of Western economic theonsm and 
Asiatic practicalness Stalin, thoroughbred Asian, rec- 
ognized that modern Asia demands opportunity for 
self-expression and development of its own genius His 
policy toward the Asiatic nationalities m Russia inspired 
outer Asia’s first confidence and interest in the new 
Soviet Power 

As counter-revolutionaries equipped by the ‘ capital- 
ist” Powers pressed in upon the Bolshevik state, Stalin’s 
coolness and strength were needed on the Revolutionary 
Military Council He had worked in 1918 with 
Voroshilov, rebuildmg a shattered army at Tzantzin 

[357 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


From 1920 to 1923 lie gave himself to military matters, 
personally taking part m the resistance to Udimtch’s 
drive on Petrograd, the war in Poland against Denekin, 
and the crushing of Wrangel's temporary power in the 
Ukraine For his success the name of Tzaiitzin on the 
lower Volga was changed to Stalingrad He was 
awarded the Order of the Red Standaid by his asso- 
ciates In a somewhat bored fashion, he accepted it 
He was concerned m studying Trotsky, chief of the 
armies Either the brilliant Jew or the steely Georgian, 
it was evident, would succeed to the power of the wear- 
ing-out Lenin It was fireworks against firmness, elo- 
quence against reserve, Jewish idealism against Asian 
practicality, the power of a hand that could win other 
men with a clasp against a hand that held the leading 
strings of organization In an Asian society, just 
emerging from disruption, the advantages would be 
with the latter type more than they would m person- 
ality-loving America Outsiders discussed as to which 
of the rivals had Lenin’s confidence 
Probably no man evei had from Lenin what could 
be called full confidence The father of Bolshevism 
was too utilitarian for that He had confidence m 
, people, en masse, provided they were properly directed, 
but the confidence he gave his lieutenants was that 
which one gives an automobile or air-plane motor — 
; that under certam conditions they will do certain work 
I —rather than the trust one human being ordinarily 
I gives another Some foimders have achieved success 

[ 358 ] 



JOSEF STALIN 

by reposing m their disciples a confidence which in- 
spires great deeds Lenin achieved by an opposite 
method He carefully refrained from putting himself 
in the hands of any human, and never made any man 
indispensable to his cause He used men as cogs rather 
than apostles Stalin worked such a scheme much 
better than Trotsky The brilliant Jew relied upon 
hero worship In his History oj the Revolution of 
about this date Stalin’s name was not mentioned’ In 
exile m Constantinople in 1929 Trotsky was to say 
“What IS Stalin^ The shortest answer is that he is 
the most prominent average man m our party’” 

Stalin had come to be General Secretary of the Polit- 
bureau, the Executive of the Communist Party, m spite 
of his protest — affecting to the “low-brows” — that his 
manners were too rude for such a high position Stalin’s 
Asiatic gift for intrigue was most useful in capturing 
local party “nests” during Lenin’s illness It is hardly 
accurate to lay his activities to personal ambition, as 
one would more readily do in the case of Trotsky The 
struggle was parallel to that between Yamagata and 
Ito Stahn was ruthless to his contemporary more in 
the spirit of taciturn conviction of the latter’s unre- 
liability than of personal rivalry 
Lenin died At the great funeral ceremonies Trotsky 
stood on a high platform in Red Square, the wall and 
turrets of the Kremlin behind him. and glorious in 
uniform and medals of the Comraanricr-ir-Chief of the 
Red Armies, made an impassioned oration Stalin 

[359 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


mingled among the workmen at his feet in workman’s 
blouse and boots But Trotsky failed to assume com- 
mand Not personality but organizational ability was 
henceforth to dominate On his “unofficial” throne 
Stalin could sit silently and solidly, hid from the public, 
from officials of his own making, from foreign diplo- 
mats, and from journalists, and work eighteen hours a 
day tightening the reins of party control on his great 
Asian-minded populace It was his task to make the nec- 
essary adaptations to the mentality of the masses, direct 
and maintain discipline, ruthlessly suppress extraneous 
ideas and eliminate disruptive personalities, and in gen- 
eral keep vigorous and responsive the single-minded, 
singly directed “aristocracy” of one million people — 
the formal membership of the Communist Party — ^which 
IS the machine through which the world’s vastest nation 
IS governed (Yet the popular cheap journalistic repre- 
sentation of Bolshevism in the West has been that of a 
regime entirely without discipline ) 

’ Mussolini, of Italy, controls his governing machine 
! largely by force of his overwhelming personality Stalin 
I uses quiet, business-like organization Both movements 
are built on attractive doctrines of the salvation and 
glorification of their societies But in keeping the move- 
ment bigger than the man, in submerging the ephemeral 
and variable factor of personality, Bolshevism has at- 
tained the greater promise of permanence By the same 
development it has lost in romantic glamour and in 
spirituality. 


[ 360 ] 



JOSEF STALIN 


III 

Stalin’s victory over Trotsky establishes Russia in 
its Asiatic traditions Trotsky is a Jew, but the modem 
Jew does not belong to Asia His theoretical-mmded- 
ness, his vision, his lack of balance, and his effect upon 
history and culture connect him to European civiliza- 
tion Judea sent as many sons eastward as westward 
but they have left hardly a trace in Persia and India, 
and in China have been completely swallowed up In 
Western life under the most hostile conditions Jews find 
places where their fitness is unchallengeable They do 
not flourish in Asia as surely as they come to the top 
in the West So Trotsky could not adapt himself to 
an Asian-spirited Bolshevism 

The revolutionary movement in Russia liberated the 

Jews, and guaranteed to them, as to all other raaals, 

« 

equal treatment and standing in the proletarian com- 
monwealth That feature of Bolshevism, lost sight of 
abroad, is as great a work in the emancipation of man- 
kind as the freeing of the blacks in America Reacting 
from long repression, it was natural that the Jews should 
play a large part in the Bolshevik regime, although 
never so large as was represented by the Jew-hating 
refugee aristocracy 

Trotsky, Zinoviev, and their fellow Jews were the 
most European-minded element in the Communist 
Party Trotsky’s mind constantly ran westward To 
him the Russian Revolution was not for Russia’s sake 

[ 361 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


but merely a lighting wick for a western-spreading con- 
flagration Highly industrialized Geimany, England, 
and the United States — ^particularly England — ^weie, 
rather than Russia, the ideal soil for Utopian schemes 
Trotsky was internationally minded With the lack of 
attachment peculiar to the Jew he was free of the 
awakening national pride and consciousness which is 
the dommant note through Asia to-day from its Pacific 
shore to the Polish boundary Again, he was more 
readily convmced by theorizing than by observation 
and experience In his unwillingness to compromise 
with conditions he was European rather than Asian 
spirited 

Clashes of the two temperaments in the Russian revo- 
lutionary cause began in 1903 between Tiotsky and 
Lenin, and were to be carried to an ultimate ^'show- 
down” between Trotsky and Stalin In September of 
the previous year Trotsky arrived m London, a refugee 
from Samara, where he had passed through his appren- 
ticeship as a revolutiomst He came to Lenin’s dreary 
flat with a contribution for the paper Lenin was pub- 
lishing and illicitly circulating in Russia Lenin liked 
the young man’s fiery zeal and forceful style But 
Plekanov, grouchy old founder of the Russian Marxian 
school, who assumed a sort of editorial censorship, 
wrote Lenin “I do not like your new friend’s pen ” 
Lenin, who was soon to break with Plekanov, replied 
‘‘Perhaps you do not like his style, but every man can 
live and learn, and I think this man could be very 

[ 362 ] 



JOSEF STALIN 

useM to our movement ’ In a few months came the 
famous party congress m which Lemn demanded un- 
questioned leadership of the party on a program of 
ruthless and pragmatic action Trotsky failed to follow 
into his Bolshevik wing “This man with all his native 
energy and talent played the part of a destroyer of 
the party,” Trotsky accused in biting style “Comrade 
Lenin mentally reviewed the membership of the party 
and came to the conclusion that he, and he alone, was 
the iron hand he himself would take over the 
part of Robespierre the Incorruptible ” Lenin retorted 
in characteristic brevity that Trotsky was “an empty 
poseur” Not until the summer of 1917, when both 
were working for the downfall of the Kerensky regime, 
did Trotsky, returning precariously from America, sub- 
mit himself to Lenin’s command in Moscow and gain 
admission to the Bolshevik party Even after the be- 
ginning of their famous cooperation in the Smolny 
Cloister, when the outside woild believed that they 
were in equal power and authority, Lemn exhibited his 
contempt for Trotsky’s love of logic and words in a 
satirical article called “The Cult of the Revolutionary 
Phrase ” 

In this work of a hght moment Lenin made dear 
the fundamental difference m their mentality Trotsky 
lived in words, Lemn m action The difference between 
the theorist and the statesman was evidenced again in 
the Brest-Litovsk negotiations in which Trotsky, repre- 
senting Russia, refused the arrogant peace terms of the 

[363 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


Germans, maintaining that the German proletariat 
would hold their rulers responsible for the continuance 
of war and that this upshot would incite the social 
revolution m Germany and possibly spread it to yet 
other countries Lenin, the pragmatic, who knew he 
could not make the Russians fight or the Germans stop 
fighting, laconically ordered “peace at any price ” 
Lenin saved Trotsky’s talent for the cause and 
avoided clash of temperament for a time by throwing 
Trotsky into the hectic activity of “organizing victory ” 
As Commissar of War he spent three yeais flying from 
one front to another, inspiriting the troops with his 
eloquence, imparting to war-jaded men his own spirit of 
energy, and rallying the nation to their support Mili- 
tary expertmg was done by Voroshilov, Stalin’s friend 
Trotsky’s great aversion was the British, who had de- 
tained him en route from New York, and his use of 
this scare to arouse the people contributed mufch toward 
the Anglophobe Soviet pohcy which had such lepercus- 
sion through all Asia Trotsky now gave allegiance 
wholly to the leader he had once accused of “arrogant 
pettiness,” and his Jewish ardor was evident in the 
distressed statement after the first attack on Lenin’s 
life “When we think that he may die, our whole life 
seems useless and we cease to want to live ” 

But as the crisis passed, and revolution became 
regime, and outlawed theory orthodox, Trotsky’s fret- 
ful spirit pulled him into controversy again His suc- 
cess in building army morale led him to believe that 

[ 364 ] 



JOSEF STALIN 

industry could be conducted in the same fashion as 
war He proposed to perpetuate and strengthen “mili- 
tary communism” by transforming his regiments into 
a “workers’ army” under military discipline, and 
forcibly recruiting the trades unions Lenin’s common 
sense not only overruled plans which took human nature 
so little into account, but dictated the abandonment of 
true communism entirely, in the establishment of the 
New Economic Policy of 1921 Competitive labor and 
a graduated wage scale were recognized The military 
forces were discharged or put on a peace-time basis 
under Voroshilov The time for Jewish theorism was 
past, utilitarianism, the trait of the Asiatic element, 
was needed War-Lord Trotsky’s importance waned 
and that of Organizer Stalin increased 
As Lenin sank through the long months into the 
frozen form which is preserved for the worshipful to 
view, the outside world expected Trotsky to succeed to 
dictatorial power There was not the remotest possi- 
bility of that being accomplished through the regular 
party machine Stalin and other leaders of the “Old 
Guard” looked askance at him for many reasons He 
was a Jew — ^and that came into account in spite of the 
Bolshevik doctrine of racial equahty While they had 
suffered imprisonment, hard labor, and exile, Trotsky 
had lived safely m Europe and America He had re- 
turned and joined the Bolshevik party just in time to 
share in the glory of victory They could not but feel 
resentment over his having occupied a position practi- 

[ 365 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


Germans, maintaining that the German proletariat 
would hold their rulers responsible for the continuance 
of war and that this upshot would incite the social 
revolution in Geimany and possibly spread it to yet 
other countries Lenin, the pragmatic, who knew he 
could not make the Russians fight or the Germans stop 
fighting, laconically ordered “peace at any price ” 
Lenin saved Trotsky’s talent for the cause and 
avoided clash of temperament for a time by throwing 
Trotsky into the hectic activity of “organizing victory ” 
As Commissar of War he spent three years flying from 
one front to another, inspiriting the troops with his 
eloquence, imparting to war-jaded men his own spirit of 
energy, and rallying the nation to their support Mili- 
tary exporting was done by Voroshilov, Stalin’s friend 
Trotsky’s great aversion was the British, who had de- 
tained him en route from New York, and his use of 
this scare to arouse the people contributed mufch toward 
the Anglophobe Soviet policy which had such lepercus- 
sion through all Asia Trotsky now gave allegiance 
wholly to the leader he had once accused of “arrogant 
pettiness,” and his Jewish ardor was evident in the 
distressed statement after the first attack on Lenin’s 
life “When we think that he may die, our whole life 
seems useless and we cease to want to live ” 

But as the crisis passed, and revolution became 
regime, and outlawed theory orthodox, Trotsky’s fret- 
ful spirit pulled him into controversy again His suc- 
cess m building army morale led him to believe that 

[ 364 ] 



JOSEF STALIN 

industry could be conducted m the same fashion as 
war He proposed to perpetuate and strengthen “mili- 
tary communism” by transforming his regiments into 
a “workers’ army” under military discipline, and 
forcibly recruiting the trades unions Lenin’s common 
sense not only ovei ruled plans which took human nature 
so little into account, but dictated the abandonment of 
true communism entirely, in the establishment of the 
New Economic Policy of 1921 Competitive labor and 
a graduated wage scale were recognized The military 
forces were discharged or put on a peace-time basis 
under Voroshilov The time for Jewish theonsm was 
past, utilitarianism, the trait of the Asiatic element, 
was needed War-Lord Trotsky’s importance waned 
and that of Organizer Stalin mcreased 
As Lenin sank thiough the long months into the 
frozen form which is preserved for the worshipful to 
view, the outside world expected Trotsky to succeed to 
dictatorial power There was not the remotest possi- 
bility of that bemg accomplished through the regular 
party machine Stalin and other leaders of the “Old 
Guard” looked askance at him for many reasons He 
was a Jew — and that came into account in spite of the 
Bolshevik doctrine of racial equality While they had 
suffered imprisonment, hard labor, and exile, Trotsky 
had lived safely in Europe and America He had re- 
turned and joined the Bolshevik party just in time to 
share in the glory of victory They could not but feel 
resentment over his havmg occupied a position practi- 

[ 365 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


cally as duumvtr with Lenin during the war years — 
although Lenin granted him this only for the utilitarian 
leason that during war the Minister of War is the 
most important member of the cabinet They were 
naturally jealous of his versatility in every activity from 
art criticism to field strategy, his unquestionable ex- 
cellence over them as a writer, and his ability to capture 
the public eye There was only one way in which 
Trotsky could have made himself supreme in the face 
of this feeling a sudden military coup before the army 
was pried too much out of his grasp 

It may be more to Trotsky’s credit than otherwise 
that he did not raise the standard of rebellion for the 
sake of personal ambition Kerensky has called him 
weak — ^lacking in audacity — but that charge would bear 
more weight from a man with less leputation for weak- 
ness himself In spite of a temporary career as war- 
lord, Trotsky was a man of diction rather than action 
Also, only to be scientific, we must remember his Jewish 
heritage Napoleonic coups are not in the Jewish 
nature 

So he resorted to his own weapon, writing history 
and open letters which embarrassed his peers and at- 
tracted the younger generation We pause with interest 
to note that his most bitter opponent at this time was 
his fellow Jew, Zinoviev In retaliation the party chiefs 
put under way, through the organization, a thorough 
campaign to discredit Trotsky He resigned as War 
Commissar in 1925 and hved until summer in retire- 

[366] 



JOSEF STALIN 

ment in the Caucasus During this interval Zinoviev 
and Kameniev came to loggerheads with Stalin, Premier 
Rykov, and Bukharin, Stalin’s successor in the Pravda 
office, and were condemned by the party machine 
Trotsky returned to ally with these old enemies, and, 
under the slogan “Back to Lenin,” to accuse the party 
of losing its revolutionary character as a fosterer both 
of world revolution and radical communism at home 
Specifically, he pointed to growing alliances with capi- 
talistic nations, and the accumulation of small wealth 
by the larger peasants and private traders The Chns- 
Uan Science Monitor correspondent remarked that the 
program received more attention from the Party “intel- 
ligentsia,” in large proportion Jewish, and from uni- 
versity students, than from the poorer workers and 
peasants for whom it plead 
Trotsky asserted the right to remam in the party and 
yet take issue with the policy of its directors More 
and more he was veering toward the political institu- 
tions of the Anglo-Saxons whom he hated It was his 
normal development In an advantage when the fight 
was with words, he wished freedom to play upon public 
opinion and would have introduced the “government 
by palaver” of Western democracies Again it was the 
genius of Europe against that of Asia 

Stalin and his machine moved too coolly and slowly 
to give Trotsky and Zmoviev a desired opportunity to 
appear as martyrs Stalm gradually took all respon- 
sible offices away from the “oppositionists” but re- 

[ 367 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


framed from expelling them from the party or its com- 
mittees merely on grounds of differences of opinion 
But when they resorted to unauthorized or forbidden 
means to propagate their discontent, the case was no 
longer a matter of heterodoxy but one of undermining 
the regime The Trotskyites were discovered to be 
operatmg printing plants with assistance of out-and-out 
opponents of Bolshevism The White colonies in Pans 
and other cities, whose irreconcilability is mated with 
their und 5 nng hope of counter-revolution, began to 
prick up their ears 

The Central and Control Committees ejected ninety- 
eight “little fellows” in Trotsky’s following from the 
party as a warning But the challenged Lucifer only 
grew more defiant Carl Radek, chief publicity man 
of the Third Internationale, which Walter Duranty de- 
scnbes as “The Foreign Missionary Society^of the Bol- 
shevik Church,” associated himself with the “opposi- 
tion” The party chiefs were annoyed at the threat 
that supporters of communism abroad would be led to 
oppose them personally The success of Russian agents 
in China in 1926 in embarrassing Great Britam and the 
other imperialist Powers gave Trotsky’s group oppor- 
tunity to demand increased emphasis on the world 
revolution When the Russian mfluence m Chinese na- 
tionalism collapsed, Trotsky scathingly charged the ad- 
ministration with giving it insufficient support Stalin’s 
quiet suggestion that the failure was perhaps due to. 
ebullient indiscretion in dealing with Asiatics without 

[368] 



JOSEF STALIN 

caie for their sensibilities was little noticed There 
may have been double-crossing among Bolshevik heads 
on this China campaign, but Borodin was temperamen- 
tally a Trotskyist Karakhan of Armenian extraction, 
who resembles his fellow Georgian, Stalin, m build and 
mentality, seemed neither surprised nor greatly disap- 
pointed at the outcome in the land where he was am- 
bassador He is more interested in political results 
than dogmas and an castles 
Trotsky appeared befoie a party committee meeting 
in late October and threw it into a turmoil of anger with 
his barbed eloquence Stalin refrained from final ac- 
tion imtil the tenth-year jubilee celebration of the 
USSR should be completed On November 7, while 
a million persons paraded in the Red Square m honor 
of Bolshevist accomplishment, Trotsky dashed about 
the city m an open car making street speeches and a 
few university students marched with placards “Long 
live Trotsky and Zinoviev, the chiefs of the World 
Revolution ” Clashes occurred in which rotten vege- 
tables and fruit were thrown 
When the shouting was over and the many Russian 
and foreign visitors to Moscow who might ssmipathize 
with Trotsky had departed, Stalin called a joint meet- 
ing of the Central and Control Committees of the party 
Trotsky was summoned to account for his actions He 
immediately assumed the role of accuser rather than de- 
fendant He charged Stahn and Bukharin with tyran- 
nical use of the Gay-Pay-Oo (secret political police), 

[369J 



EMINENT ASIANS 


reiterated that the opposition would disobey any orders 
designed to prevent the publication of its platform to 
the party membership, and accused the party leadership 
of shifting to the right, building a new bourgeoisie, and 
abandoning the worker for the politician in Asia He 
denounced “policy” and eulogized stark frankness 
While angry cries drowned portions of his sentences 
he insinuated that the government was receiving bribes 
from the rich peasants and proceeded to quote from 
Lenin’s posthumous letter m which the founder casti- 
gated “for the good of the movement” all of his fol- 
lowers “Stalm is too rough Remove Stalin, who can 
bring the party to break-up and destruction ” In the 
momentary silence Trotsky declaimed “The roughness 
and lack of loyalty about which Lenin wrote are not 
simply personal qualities, they have become the quali- 
ties of the ruling faction and its policy ” 

The outsider is amused to think of Lemn stigmatiz- 
mg Stalin as “too rough,” — ^Lenin who had told Gorky 
his own chief duty was to split skulls ruthlessly, and 
who had become angry at a suggestion that, in appeal 
to peasants, a death threat to any who aided enemies 
be omitted And he may well laugh at the picture of 
an erstwhile commander of Red armies quoting this 
before an expostulating audience 

Cries of “Old Slander,” “Shame,” forced Trotsky off 
the platform, but he had delivered himself The Man 
of Steel presently replied in an unperturbed voice The 
Founder had called him “rough” But in the same 

[ 370 ] 



JOSEF STALIN 

letter he had called Trotsky “not a Bolshevik” and im- 
plied that he regarded Trotsky’s reunion with the party 
in 1 9 1 7 as purely opportunistic Trotsky’s collaborators 
in opposition^ Zinoviev and Kameniev, were virtually 
accused in the letter of “making mistakes” at the time 
of the Bolshevik seizure of power that were “not acci- 
dental ” Stalin reiterated his willingness to resign sec- 
retaryship of the party if committeemen felt Lenin’s 
accusation required it At least he had not been accused 
of making willful mistakes and he was not conducting 
what amounted to counter-revolution “You have 
heard,” he concluded with a dour sneer, “how strenu- 
ously the opposition has abused Stalin This may be 
explained because Stalin knows possibly better than 
anybody else, all the knavery of the opposition ” He 
was cheered, and four days later Trotsky and Zino- 
viev, refusing to pledge different behavior in the future, 
* 

were expelled from the Communist Party His fol- 
lowers, including Zinoviev, later recanted in greater or 
less degree Trotsky remained defiant and the Bol- 
sheviks sent him, as the Czar had done them, into a 
“comer of oblivion” in central Asia 
So the only element which would have carried the 
original radical program into full execution was elimi- 
nated Stalin goes forward in Lenin’s example of ac- 
commodating theory to conditions, although very care- 
ful to sicken his people on orthodoxy before esiubitmg 
any tendency toward heterodoxy “Theory is tlQt^a 
sacred thing but merely a working tool,” is the dictum, 

[ 371 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


found in a letter of Lenin to Gorky, which is bringing 
Russia back into relationship with the rest of the world 
and compromising with human instincts of competition 
and acquisitiveness at home Trotsky, aftei the manner 
of a Western reformer, would have his theory in the 
face of all dubitation until he had either ruined the 
opposing world or had ruined Russia Stalin, the 
Asiatic opportunist, is seeking to restore Russia to 
power and dignity in the world, with preservation of 
as much of the dogma as is necessary to preserve the 
confidence of his fellows 

Self-possessed, young-looking save for the sinister 
crow’s-feet leading back from his eyes, with jet-black 
hair oiled and brushed back in a pompadour, piominent 
Oriental nose emitting now and then a punctuating 
snort into bushy mustaches (the “Lenin” goatee sedu- 
lously aped by the Jewish comrades is disdained), his 

m 

huge hand now and then going up to a hairy chest 
revealed by carelessly open khaki jacket or giving a 
tug at his high top boots, Stalin sits behind his work- 
table, under Lenin’s picture, listening to members from 
the carefully cultivated party “nests” or communists 
and workeis from abroad He listens patiently and is 
chary of words in reply With the same poise, backed 
by his immense physical vigor, does he sit m the “Col- 
lege of Cardmals” of the Solshevik world in January, 
1929, and demand the exile of Trotsky It is granted 
to him by a majority of one — ^because one discreetly, 
albeit sullenly, declines to vote, and Steel is warned 

[ 372 ] 



JOSEF STALIN 

that humans, volatile as ether, may yet escape his 
grasp 

The more formal and important the caller, the less 
likely IS he to get to Stalin No foreign ambassador has 
spoken with the power behind Tchicherm and Litvmoff, 
and since Stalin does not receive newspapermen they 
consider him their most valuable prey, while passing 
by the open doors of the High Commissars and pub- 
licists 

He lives with his wife and child in a small flat m the 
Kremlin and never goes to a public place save occa- 
sionally to some workman’s club Now and then he 
may be seen at a meeting — ^never on the stage except 
on the rare occasions when he speaks — ^but in the back- 
ground, conversing m a low tone with his neighbors in 
his Caucasian brogue with its Orientalisms He writes 
without profundity, precisely, simply, and dully, in the 
official party organs He is known for utter lack of 
interest m women or social functions, but for good fel- 
lowship in his own crowd He makes no bid for popu- 
larity his portrait appears seldom among those of the 
proletarian heroes which adorn posters, walls, books, 
and papers ever3rwhere m Russia 

He is accused of inciting others to action and then 
awaitmg the result before involvmg himself It is not 
a bad gift for a politician His crude, opportunistic 
phrases reach the point “Enough of that idiotic slogan, 
the World Revolution,” he exclaims He cuts down the 
budget of the Comintern — the foreign mission soaety 

[373 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


of Bolshevism He says it is necessary to build up the 
peasant in order to build up agriculture He broadly 
invites foreign capital to invest in Russia At the same 
time he adopts the most extreme portion of Trotsky’s 
program popular with proletarian devotees and inaugu- 
rates a new campaign of state control of industry and 
trade and oppression of the kulak, or better-off peasant 
His slogan is party solidarity, with himself sitting solid 
on the party No doubt his greatest asset in politics, 
like that of Kemal and Mussolini, is his tigerhke physi- 
cal vitality Governing is after all more a physical than 
a mental job 

“Stalin IS a more dangerous and subtle help to Indian 
revolt than Trotsky,” says an Englishman (India comes 
next on the program of Asian self-assertion) This is 
doubtless true Yet Mr C F Andrews tells of the visit 
of a young Hindu to the Bolshevik chief “He was fas- 
cinated with Russia, but utterly repulsed by Stalin ” 
Human beings can hardly be further apart than the 
crude, direct, physical Georgian and the sensitive, super- 
cultured Hindu Yet a common resentment sets them 
to making history together 

IV 

From Peter the Great to the Bolshevik revolution 
Russians were ruled by a djmasty and aristocracy 
European in outlook and largely European in blood 
(the Romanoffs recruited their queens from Germany). 

[ 374 ] 



JOSEF STALIN 

The government tried with crude, violent methods to 
Europeanize its subjects and saw Russia’s destiny in 
an imitation of European industry, shipping, militansm, 
and imperialism 

This regime is gone, and the responsible head of the 
one hundred and forty-seven million Russians is not a 
Germanized Czar, but an Asiatic from Georgia Russia, 
separated in theory from Asia for several centuries, 
has openly gone back to affiliation with Asia The 
boundary between the continents can no longer be de- 
scribed as the long overemphasized Ural mountains 
Poland, breaking away from Russia, has eagerly turned 
westward for cultural and political affiliation and has 
renewed her devotion to the Roman Church, while 
Russia, Asia-like, develops her own religion of utopian- 
ism The boundary line between Europe and Asia 
to-day IS the red and white “barber’s pole” standing 
halfway between the double lines of barbed wire de- 
marcating the Pohsh frontier 

But modem Asia, of which Russia becomes a part, 
IS not the Asia of the seventeenth century, and the 
spint of Asia which dominates Russia to-day is a no- 
table evolution from that which Czar Peter combated 
In such distinguishing psychological fimdamentals as 
their attitude toward time, toward matenal comforts, 
toward sex, m their fatalism and ceremoniahsm, Asia, 
and Russia, remam Asiatic But they are aroused to 
race consciousness, they are possessed of an inferiority 
complex whidi only attainment of equal mechanical and 

1375 1 



EMINENT ASIANS 


military status with the Western Powers and the recog- 
nition of equal dignity in the world will appease Rus- 
sians are moved by the same deep feeling of resentment 
against the economically superior and ofttimes arrogant 
nations of the West as stirs Chinese, Indians, Turks, 
Persians, Annamese, Filipinos, Javanese, and even the 
advanced Japanese They are full-fledged members of 
the “confraternity of the snubbed ” 

Bolshevik Russia encourages and champions the 
weaker and more backward members of this fraternity 
and makes it impossible for the ruling nations of the 
West to crush them outright Bolshevik Russia schemes 
diligently the break-up of the British Empire, the bul- 
wark of the West’s supremacy in the world Occa- 
sionally the Soviet makes mistakes in dealing with its 
Asiatic neighbors These are quickly righted, as in the 
cases of Turkey and Persia Able men Karakhan, 

m. 

Asiatic Armenian, Pashtuhov, Slavic “White Russian”, 
and Zuckermann, Crimean Jew are in charge of Russia’s 
Asiatic relations To a Japanese (it is much easier 
for Orientals than for Westerners to see him) Stalin 
said, “Welcome < I, too, am Asiatic ” “For some time 
to come,” said the powerfully built Karakhan, mov- 
ing panther-like about his office, “we will feel closer to 
Asia than to Europe Of course we must always deal 
with both, as we must always be the merging ground 
of both ” Under the Stalm regime, Russia will support 
Asia’s revolt whether it takes a communist turn or not 
Under Stalin the Asiatic, Russia’s significance changes 

[ 376 ] 



JOSEF STALIN 


from that of the evangel of a strange new economico- 
political ideology m the world, to that of the more 
easily understood mater of an Asiatic group of nations 
against the hitherto dominant Western group A re- 
ligious crusade simmers down to a political campaign, 
fervor cools into opportunism, sensationalism is super- 
seded by safety, fanatic idealism practicalizes into self- 
interest 




MAHATMA GANDHI 

MOHANDAS KARAMCHAND GANDHI 




I 


W HILE Kemal m Turkey is leading his 
religious-minded people from religious pas- 
sion to national passion as a basis of so- 
ciety, Gandhi in India — only ten years, although we 
think of him as ages, older — is taking religion into 
social and political life, and building Indian nationalism 
upon it “The idea-tight division of human activity 
mto religious, social, and political compartments is the 
prime fallacy of the modern world — and the basis of 
Western hypocrisy,” said the Mahatma to me as he sat 
on his rough stone floor at Sabarmati colony, his large 
eyes covering me and his sharp chin and long nose 
pointmg at me with a gesture definite, yet delicate 
“If religion is not needed in politics, where on earth 
IS it wanted'” Of course he means personal religion, 
not clerical institutionalism 

Gandhi’s task, hke Sun Yat-sen’s, of building into 
a nation a multitudinous Asiatic people of homogeneous 
culture, makes him important enough When that task 
involves bringing mto human sympathy and produc- 
tive intercourse the votaries of two traditionally hostile 
religious and a dozen sects — deft by age-sacred snob- 
bery into hundreds of castes — it makes him not only 
famous but great But his significance is beyond this, 
in that he carries on his tremendous task in a newly 

£ 381 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


argued spirit of revolt against the accepted lules of 
Western civilization His gospel, stark folly to the 
modern world at first sight, raises questions, awakens 
doubtful thought as to the fundamentals of human 
progress 

Gandhi’s is the same problem of the restoration of 
racial dignity, beaten down by the rifle butts of the 
West, which we have encountered in the rest of Asia 
But Gandhi’s method of meeting it is different from 
those of Yamagata, Sun Yat-sen, or Kemal It is not, 
as theirs, effective competition with the West in its 
own “game” of military and industrial prowess, nor, as 
Lenin’s, excellence in this game by a different organiza- 
tion of its human pawns Gandhi’s is yet more original 
It IS to repudiate the game entirely and prove man’s 
greatest and only permanent good is to be reached by an 
utterly different activity with an opposite philosophy 
Of this, Gandhi would have India be the example 
But like all great religionists, his outlook is more than 
national India is to preserve the way of life which 
must be adopted by the “modern” world when its pros- 
perity shall have crashed and its “progress” shall have 
led into a cid-de-sac Then India, if she has been true 
to her own soul, shall automatically assume leadership 
of the world She shall be its savior 

Gandhi would have India pohtically free, but not at 
the price of becoming idealogically enslaved He would 
have India respected by the materialistic world, but 
not at the sacrifice of her own peculiar genius He 

[382 ] 



MAHATMA GANDHI 

would have Indians well fed and adequately housed 
but not at the expense of coming to live more for the 
flesh than for the spirit 

Because he is the one Asiatic leader who gives these 
considerations logical weight, Gandhi is to hasty West- 
erners a little mad — or just pathetic And yet, more 
than any of the new Asians, he disturbs us In that he 
IS the one Asian leader who sees beyond the rapidly 
approaching day when East shall challenge West on a 
basis of material equality, and endeavors to prepare 
against that day, he stands on a different plane from 
others 

Gandhi interprets the spirit of India to be other- 
worldliness This spirit is to operate socially and politi- 
cally through the power of love which Jesus talked 
about Gandhi is the first leader to organize “turning 
the other cheek” as a weapon of nation-wide revolution 
Ironically enough, he must use it against the British, 
who brought the Christian Gospel to him and his land 
— the British, nommally Christians, yet the most suc- 
cessful users of swift and scientific violence m world 
history We have the spectacle of the world’s greatest 
exponent of the “weapons of the flesh” against its thus- 
far greatest experimenter with the weapon of the spirit 
Because he is not content, like the rest of Asia (ex- 
cept the Russians) to take one step at a time, he may 
fail But failure or messiah, or both, he stands as a 
seer among statesmen, a saint among heroes 
Of the six great Asian personalities portrayed in this 

[ 383 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


book, Gandhi alone has been set forth with a degree 
of adequacy to the English-speaking world He has 
been presented — usually by men who have never seen 
him, as Romain Rolland — ^m the role of a saint, and as 
a rebel against Western cultuie, an Asian reactionary 
These are fascinating sides to his character But the 
line of my study requires me to chart the Indian lead- 
er’s human development rather than exclaim over his 
mystic saintliness, and to uncover the truly significant 
Western influence in him rather than use him to prove 
the Kipling bromide that East and West shall never 
meet For the Mahatma, at first glance exactly oppo- 
site in spirit and purpose to the other nation-makers of 
Asia, IS found on close study to profit as they do by 
Western attainment and experiment in freeing the East 
from the domination of the West Gandhi does it with 
the long vision of the saint rather than of ,the oppor- 
tunistic and pragmatical lawyer-demagogue which his 
trammg might well have made him His Swaraj is 
founded upon Asian culture, imbued with its spirit, and 
implacably opposed to industrial civilization and the 
Western manner of life, yet has the Western ideals of 
action, social equality, and economic prosperity as un- 
mistakably as has Bolshevism In addition its leader 
preaches mental independence 
I first approached Mahatma Gandhi in the company 
of Chin the Golden of Young China As we drove 
at dawn m a miniature “double-ender” cart behmd a 
speedy, trotting bullock over the bridge at Ahmedabad 

[ 384 ] 



MAHATMA GANDHI 


and up the Gujerat River, where below us on the sand- 
bars morning prayers, ablutions, burnings of the dead, 
and cloth-bleaching were proceeding, all watched by 
great cranes knee-deep on one leg in water looking 
transcendentally on. Chin said to me with Chinese prac- 
ticalness and suspicion “If Mr Gandhi is a holy man 
he will see our minds — that we come to try him out — 
and will not speak freely and act naturally' ” 

A first view of him dispelled any such fears A 
gnomehke man with large ears and enormous nose and 
skeleton-hke body clad only in a coarse white cloth 
from waist to knees sat with feet folded back beside his 
loins (they are twisted from this posture, which only 
skeleton-hke legs could assume), chuckling joyously and 
■unrestrainedly as a child, great brown eyes dancing 
under low upper lids He was listening to a serious 
young lady disciple recounting misadventures on a 

m 

recent mission Soon she caught the spirit and laughed 
too The visiting American and Chinaman joined in 
It was good, for one hears little laughter in India — 
in contrast to the sound forever on the ears among the 
sunny-tempered Chinese, Siamese, and Burmans We 
were ready to regard Gandhi as a mystic But we saw 
no kmship between him and the Indian fakir With 
such an introduction we were bound to study him as a 
man, rather than as a god I am of the impression that 
he prefers such treatment 



EMINENT ASIANS 


II 

In 1869, only twelve years after that desperately 
violent Indian attempt to break the British clutch 
known as the Great Mutiny, Putlibai, young fourth wife 
of the dewan or prime minister of Porbandar, boie as 
her fourth son the one who through the mystical power 
of organized nonviolent resistance was to lead his 
people within reach of nationalism and freedom She 
named him after her venerable lord and husband 
Karamchand Gandht, prefixing Mohandas — “Servitor 
of the Great One” — ^an index of her intensely religious 
character 

The remote northwestern principality of Porbandar, 
whose limestone-built “White City” gleamed over the 
Arabian Sea, had been far to one side of the torrent of 
resentment, outrages, and repiisals encompassing the 
Black Hole of Calcutta Yet the noble Gandhi family 
was far from untouched by the establishment of the 
white man’s dommance Dewan Kamarchand was not 
a man to truckle to any one, and his fidelity was in- 
grained His father who had occupied his high office 
before him had been forced to flee from an unjust rana 
of Porbandar but had offered only his left hand to a 
temporary royal employer of Yanagat, declaring that 
his right hand still belonged to his original master 
Karamchand, showing the hereditary spirit during ser- 
vice in Rajkot, publicly rebuked a British commissioner 
for speaking disparagingly of his none too defensible 

[ 386 ] 



M4H\TMA GWDHf 

pnnce The affronted British over-government de- 
manded through the prince an apology The dewan 
point-blank refused it He was arrested, but that 
brought no apology, and English prestige had to go un- 
requited Karamchand Gandhi took British suzerainty 
as a matter of course and was loyal to the “raj,” as 
were the heads of other native administrations, but 
stood firm on the point of native dignity Starting 
from that point, his son was to lead his people to 
implacable opposition to the Westerner’s assumed posi- 
tion m the motherland 

Mohandas Gandhi, before whom Brahmans were to 
bow, ranked by birth after both this priestly caste and 
the warriors He was of the third or merchant group 
of castes, a Banya Both father and mother were devo- 
tees of Vishnu, most orthodox of Hindu cults, but 
were much under the influence of Jams, puritans of 
a reform movement twenty-four hundred years old, 
claiming, like other Protestants, to go back to the early 
authentic form of the faith 

The austere Karamchand’s three first wives had gone 
to swell the tremendous death rate of child bearers in 
India The upbringing of this fourth child of his fourth 
family he left almost entirely to its young mother 
Frankness and executive mtegiity soon brought him, 
as it had his father, into clash with a licentious rana 
He left the hereditary service, suffered distress for a 
time, and then accepted high positions successively 
under two other petty princes who appreciated honesty 

[ 387 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


Through these vicissitudes the dignified matron Putli- 
baij draped m long robes and shawl, never failed to 
gather her children about her on the cool floor, whether 
it happened at the time to be of marble or clay trodden 
by peasants’ feet, and instruct them in the strictest pre- 
cepts of ahvmsa — the “nonkilling” doctiine, stressed by 
the Jains, of truth-telling, chastity, and vegetarianism 
Then she would kneel with them in long prayer, and 
they responded with childhood’s ardent religiousness 
and willingness to sacrifice Frequently she fasted, and 
her youngest son m particular was always ready to take 
a vow with her By intelligence, gentleness, and an 
obvious capacity to suffer, she dominated her children 
and determined their lives If Gandhi’s penchant for 
politics came from his father, his religious consaence 
was an endowment from his mother 
The lad had never been away from his mothei’s side 
for even a few houis when he began to attend, after 
many prayerful exhoitations each day, the Porbandar 
Primary School recently established by the British raj 
When he was seven, his father removed the family to 
Rajkot Here Mohandas continued an exotic educa- 
tion copied after the British public school system and 
leading directly toward an English university, against 
which he was to revolt so violently in adulthood 
“He was not known,” says his secretary and co- 
worker Krishnadas, to whom I am indebted for 
authentic data on this portion of his life, “as a very 
brilliant student, nor was he counted among the forward 

13881 



MAHATMA GANDHI 


boys ” “During this short period,” says the “Great 
Soul” in the autobiography of his “years of sin” just 
published under the title The Story of My Experiments 
with Truth, “I do not remember ever to have told a he, 
either to teachers or schoolmates I used to be very 
shy and avoided all company My books and lessons 
were my sole companions To be at school at the stroke 
of the hour and run back home as soon as school closed, 
that was my daily habit I literally ran back because 
I could not bear to talk to anybody — I was ever afraid 
lest some one should poke fun at me ” 

This “inferiority complex” was a natural result of 
the extreme religious self-abasement his mother had 
instilled in him A painful but eventually complete re- 
action from it makes an outstanding trait of his char- 
acter The lad who couldn’t speak to anybody was to 
become the most fearless orator of India, and the boy 
who was deathly afraid lest some one should poke fun 
at him was to flout all accepted theories and manners 
of life, go publicly clothed only m a lorn cloth, and 
unabashedly face trial and punishment as a felon 
It was not long before the inevitable youthful revolt 
against the restrictions of his life took place His 
tamidity kept him from makmg many friends, but he 
was excessively attached, as sensitive, shy children so 
frequently are, to the few companions he made Ehs 
self-consciousness he mterpreted as cowardice, and his 
physical weakness gaUed him “Look at these English- 
men,” said his school comrade “They have brawn and 



EMINENT ASIANS 


courage because they eat meat'” So the two boys 
surreptitiously took to eating the forbidden flesh to 
“make them men” in much the same spirit that many 
American boys have indulged in tobacco But, as often 
in the case of the disapproved weed, Gandhi’s indul- 
gence brought him no pleasure When he went into the 
temple couityard and saw the heads sheared off of 
protesting sacrificial goats and their blood spurt mto 
the dust, his stomach revolted against the dried meat he 
had purchased at the open-fronted shops along the nar- 
row street “I felt as if a live goat was bleeding and 
struggling in my stomach,” he says He came home 
and found that he could not eat the supper of pulse and 
nee rolled m thin pancakes for taking up in the fingers 
His anxious mother questioned him closely And the 
lies he had to tell her completed his nausea with the 
whole thing “Let the Britishers have a monopoly on 
brawn,” was his conclusion “I will not dirty my soul 
for it ” 

{ 

He tried other “manly” sins, howevei, even taking up 
smoking It became necessary to steal coppers to keep 
up the supply of cigarettes These failing, and Mo- 
handas bemg relied upon by his friend to settle their 
secret account, he stole a gold mset from the armlet of 
an elder brother 

Conscience worked the usual swift revulsion Driven 
to confess, but unable to face his father in the enormity 
of his crime, the young Gandhi wrote out a confession, 
pushed it into the hand of the old gentleman who lay 

[ 390 ] 



MAHATM4 GANDHI 


ill on his pallet, and drew back to await the thunder- 
bolt The pious dewan turned to his son with deep 
distress showing m his features, and slowly toie the 
paper to bits Not a word of punishment or rebuke 
came from his lips, although his illness appeared to 
have been greatly aggravated Gandhi was over- 
whelmed It seemed to him useless for such a de- 
praved creature as he to endeavor to live He sought 
out his fnend, they had one of the tragic conversations 
of youth and decided to commit suicide This under- 
taking, the greatest possible sin to him who believes 
it is wrong to destroy an insect, was the furthest the 
future saint ever fell from the faith of his mother 
But the pair found, as has many a person, that it is 
not so easy for one to take his life They collected 
poison dhatura seeds, but the initial dose gnped them 
sufficiently to cause them to abandon the plan And 
thus the supersensitive boy, who was to come to despise 
the body as a weight upon the soaring spirit,^ was 
saved by the body to become one of the inspirers of 
the present world A Chinese would quote the apt 
proverb “More needful a samt on earth than another 
angel m heaven ” To Mohandas his father’s suffenng 
was a converting example of the ideal Vaishnava (fol- 
lower of Vishnu) who, in the language of a favorite 
chant, “feels the suffering of others as his own suffer- 

^ “The body is the most perfect machine, but it, too, must be rejected, 
since it hinders the free flight of the soul” — Conversation with Rama- 
handran on machinery Compare the ancient Jam precept "Bring under 
thy body, afflict, weaken thyself, as fere eats away dry wood ” 


EMINENT ASIANS 


mg — ^knows neither passion nor wrath ” The boy ab- 
jured all deceit for life, and transparent, even almost 
offensive frankness, was to become the key trait of his 
character 

He went thiough an expenence when haidly twelve 
which showed in him the makings of a social revolu- 
tionary and religious transcendentalist It was all 
through the accident of touching the scavenger who 
came to empty the family latrine Doubtless thousands 
of Hindu boys accidentally touch this domestic member 
of the untouchable outcastes, perform the ablutions of 
ceremonial cleansing when told to do so, and accept 
the situation Not so Mohandas He washed, but 
asked his mother why And he never became satisfied 
with her explanations He protested the wrong m any 
one being cut off from human contact in the name of 
religion “I told my mother that she was entirely 
wrong in considering physical contact with oui faithful 
servant Uka as sinful,” he says If the Western reader 
feels at times that the lad was somewhat pathetically 
hedged m by his environment, he can still see that he 
submitted in nothing that did not appeal to his own 
reason Here was mental independence for a child of 
twelve' To be sure, the Jain shatras might be inter- 
preted to warrant the idea that the highest rank is 
open to one of any caste who would conform to the 
ascetic ideal — ^yet social self-respect demanded recogni- 
tion of the Hindu class arrangements ordinarily Never 
was a man more in awe of rehgious tradition than 

[392 ] 



MAHATMA GANDHI 

Gandhi But he was to shock the Brahman leadership 
of India with the noble challenge “If I were convinced 
that the oppression of my brother was an essential 
part of my religion, I would give up my religion'” 
Creed could not overcome such a man Rather it would 
be compelled to conform to his human sympathy 

As will be readily imagined, the sensitive lad with 
the overgrown head, flaring ears, and small, poetic face, 
with its strong nose, lush lips, and wide-set dreamy 
eyes, half covered by drooping upper lids, was high- 
strung sexually Of all our six Asiatic leaders, he is 
the most adapted for a Freudian study Sex was a 
problem for him from earliest childhood, as has indeed 
been the usual case with the world’s great saints And 
Gandhi in his autobiographical sketches is as frank as 
Augustine or Francis of Assisi about this important 
factor in his life 

Between twelve and thirteen he was married to 
Kasturbai, an attractive, lively, self-willed girl of the 
same age, partly because one of his elder brothers was 
to be married and the enormous expense of marrying 
off Hmdu children could be lessened proportionately 
by a double wedding Marriage at this age hardly 
meant more to the average boy, Gandhi himself tells 
us, than fine clothes, a rich banquet, and the joy of a 
girl playmate But Mohandas took things more ma- 
turely and seriously and began reading everything he 
could get his hands on as to “what a young husband 
should know ” 


[393 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


The conventional demand for lifelong fidelity par- 
ticularly impressed him and he made it an ideal — fanati- 
cally fearing for vivacious Kasturbai more than for 
himself “Two innocent children all unwittingly hurled 
themselves into the ocean of life,” he was to say of the 
experience 

At thirteen the Indian girl was already a woman, 
her spouse had hardly reached active maturity The 
inevitable reaction of his religious nature occurred 
he became absuidly suspicious, and as he was to tell, 
violently jealous This child husband made himself 
both utterly miserable and laughably ridiculous in his 
efforts to curb his young wife 

I had no reason at all for doubting the faithfulness of my 
■wife, but jealousy does not ask for reasons I thought that 
I must know every step she took, and I forbade her to go 
anywhere without my permission Kasturbai was not dis- 
posed to submit to this, she insisted on going out whenever 
and wherever she liked The more I tiied to restrict her 
liberty the less she troubled about my orders, and this made 
me more and more furious ^ Things came to such a pass that 
we two married children no longer spoke to each other 
Now I see it all clearly, but then I made desperate attempts 
to assert my marital authority 

While he quarreled with his girl-wife, her nonchalant 
air and well-turned body teased him, and he found him- 
self compelled to war against excess in amorous pleas- 


2 This situation would not anse in the regions of former Muslem domi- 
nance, where women of quality are restncted to the z^mna, behind the 
purdah (curtain) 


[ 394 ] 



MAHATMA GANDHI 

ures Battling this distraction he went on, after a 
year’s intermission, with high school, but his work suf- 
fered His teachers tried to help him make up for the 
lost time by skipping him one class Among results 
he had his particular difficulties with Euclid An easy- 
going master obliquely suggested to the pupil that he 
get through an examination by cheating, “as everybody 
did,” but this Gandhi ignored Eventually he dis- 
covered how to apply his fine powers of logic to ge- 
ometry, and after that it was a pleasure to him 
He was really smgle-imndedly devoted to Kasturbai, 
but not “according to knowledge ” He was ambitious 
that she should enjoy the same mental riches that came 
to him and develop intellectually side by side with him 
So he returned from school each day and painstakingly 
endeavored to tutor her in what he had learned But 
she was interested in other things — domesticity and 
now motherhood The session invariably ended m a 
quarrel with his unwiUmg and none too deferential 
pupil Fortunately for both, she spent, according to 
custom, six months of each year with her parents and 
beyond his reach “If, along with my devouring pas- 
sion, there had not been m me a burning attachment to 
duty, I should either have fallen a prey to disease and 
premature death, or have sunk into a burdensome ex- 
istence,” he says Very real was this crisis of puberty 
and from it his hfe philosophy grew 
When he was fifteen his father was taken with a fatal 
illness, and in addition to continuing his studies and 

[ 395 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 

keeping a young wife m hand he had most of the nurs- 
ing to do He happened to be on the hymeneal bed 
instead of holding his father in his arms when the angel 
of death called, and for that he never forgave himself, 
taking it as the rebuke of heaven foi his carnality He 
vowed never again to “let animal passion blind him,” 
and set as his aim the Hindu ideal brahmacharya — ^ab- 
solute continence, m as well as out of marriage, com- 
mended for students and devotees 

In studies wheie he could reason he excelled, but pure 
memory work such as Sanscrit he found very difficult 
He would have given it up had not its study been 
pointed out as a duty on the part of the son of a 
Vaishnava He was to struggle at it for years, par- 
ticularly utilizing his periods of imprisonment, and still 
to mourn his lack of facility in the sacred language 
At eighteen he passed his exammations for the uni- 
versity and began attending lectures in an Indian insti- 
tution An old Brahman who befriended the family 
following his father’s death advised him to finish in 
London, and his mother consented after he had gone 
with her and sworn before a Brahman to abstam during 
his absence from wme, meat, and sexual intercourse 
Just before he departed a son was born to Kasturbai 
Gandhi left her engrossed m her babe and took ship 
from Bombay He was immediately confronted with 
the question of relations with Europeans On ship- 
board they were friendly enough, although the patron- 
age underlymg their cordiality did not escape the sensi- 

[ 396 ] 



MAHATMA GANDHI 

tive young man Partly from dread of treatment as 
an inferior and partly from inborn bashfulness he kept 
to himself Because, as he says, he did not know how 
to use a knife and fork, he took his meals in his cabin 
How often the traveler sees Oriental students in the 
same distress of adjustment on Oriental liners, the 
trans-Sibenan or elsewhere 

The Indian student arriving in London to-day is met 
by a committee of his fellow-countrymen and religion- 
ists and steered straight to congenial assoaation and 
living arrangements in harmony with his customs, but 
it was not so in 1887 Gandhi found a lonely lodging, 
where he spent his days m homesickness and his nights 
m tears, and he starved to emaciation before he discov- 
ered a vegetarian cuisine in the land of the beefsteak 
He was determined to remain true to his vow to his 
mother, and when, weak and emaciated, he happened 
mto a restaurant established by the health reform 
branch of the Seventh-day Adventist movement of 
America, he put down the event in his notebook as 
truly a “dispensation of Providence ” 

His activities were always to grow out of his per- 
sonal sufferings, and right here he began his first public 
social work, as a propagandist for vegetarianism and 
simplicity m food He gave up sweets and condiments 
and even eggs and milk, and made it a matter of boast 
that he could live on fifteen pence a day in London 
Anglo-Saxon advocates of vegetarianism found in the 
cultured Hindu student an attention-attracter to their 

[397] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


cause The fiist public speech of a man to be one of 
the world’s greatest orators was made in the vegetarian 
cause at Ventnor, England, while young Gandhi was 
spending a holiday with a friend “I had ascertained,” 
he says, “that it was not considered incorrect to read 
one’s speech I knew that many did so to express them- 
selves coherently and briefly To speak extempore 
would have been out of the question for me I had 
therefore written down my speech I stood up to read 
it but could not My vision became blurred and I 
trembled, though the speech hardly covered a sheet of 
foolscap Sergeant Mazumdar had to read it for me 
His own speech was of course excellent and was re- 
ceived with applause I was ashamed of myself and 
sad at heart for my incapacity ” 

He had not much improved at the end of his three- 
year stay in England Of his public appearance on the 
eve of his depaiture for home, he says “Fut this time 
too I only succeeded in making myself ridiculous 
When my turn for speakmg came, I stood up to make 
a speech I had with great care thought out one which 
would consist of a very few sentences But I could 
not proceed beyond the first sentence My mem- 
ory entirely failed me and in attempting a humorous 
speech I made myself ridiculous T thank you, gentle- 
men, for having kindly responded to my invitation,’ I 
said abruptly and sat down ” 

He had wanted to take up medicine in college, but 
his brothers had told him that his father had regarded 

[ 398 ] 



MAHATMA GANDHI 

vivisection and surgery as practices in which a Vaish- 
nava could not engage The Brahman mentoi therefore 
had recommended law The study of the law Mo- 
handas had found easy enough, bringing to it the native 
Oriental gift for comprehension of human relationships 
What had concerned him more was how to compete 
with the asseitive white man He first decided to meet 
him m his own style He bought a silk “topper,” had 
a dress suit made in Bond Street, and sent home for 
a heavy gold watch chain He began lessons in danc- 
ing, French, elocution, and violin Each morning he 
spent ten minutes before his mirror parting his hair 
and arranging his tie This lasted about three months, 
and then the emptiness of it revolted him The crisis 
came, as before, when he was offered the flesh of one 
of his “little dumb brothers” at the table of hospitality 
and mirth He arose in nausea, went home and packed 
away his dress clothes Sitting in prayer, he took oath 
to abandon forevei the attempt to be Western — or 
anythmg else alien to his nature and training He 
began the development which was to enable him, like 
Paul, to declare “By the grace of God I am what I 
am,” and to glory in it “I wasted a lot of time and 
money trying to be an Englishman,” he was to say 
Strangely enough, it was m the Englishman’s coun- 
try that he grasped the profundity of his own back- 
ground As a child he had been taught the h3mms of 
Vishnu and had heard the rehgious epic Ramayana 
sung by a noted Hindu scholar m his home But now, 

1399 1 



EMINENT ASIANS 


in England, and due to the influence of the Theosophist 
founders, Madame Blavatsky and Mrs Annie Besant 
whom he met there, he made the acquaintance for the 
first time of the noblest of his own Indian sciiptures, 
the Bhagavad Gita He read it in free English transla- 
tion by Sir Edwin Arnold, under the title The Song 
Celestial Arnold’s metrical life of the Buddha, The 
Light of Asia, also cast a spell over him Then a Lon- 
don friend introduced him to the Christian scriptures 
He had varied from the general Hindu tolerance toward 
other religions to entertain a lively prejudice against 
Christianity due to abuse he had heard meted out to 
Hinduism by Christian missionary street preachers m 
his own land But he states that the Sermon on the 
Mount ‘Vent straight to my heart on the first reading, 
for I felt that it contained the truth that renunaation 
IS the highest type of religion ” He took it literally and 
seriously “Although I chose a path which my Chris- 
tian friends had not intended, I remain forever indebted 
for the religious quest they awakened in me ” He had 
learned as a child from a Gujarati verse 

But the truly noble know all men as one 

And return with gladness good for evil done, 

the doctnne of returning good for evil But it was 
from Christ’s sayings that he conceived, he says, his 
strategy of nonviolent resistance to tyranny which he 
made his weapon for gaining equality for his people 
and terminating imperialism “My heart leapt for joy 

[ 400 ] 



MAHATMA GANDHI 

as I realized the simplicity and yet infallibility of the 
method ” Religion was always the decisive influence 
of Gandhi’s life, and now that he had found his cause 
and his weapon he wavered no more Another influ- 
ence which strengthened him at this time was Tolstoy’s 
In the disillusioned older man’s “passive resistance,” 
insistence on living the Sermon on the Mount, and 
theory that all domestic disharmony comes of “men 
and women using each other as instruments of pleas- 
ure,” he found formulations of opinions toward which 
he had been tending 

In June, 1891, Gandhi passed his examination for 
the bar, and two days later embarked for his own coun- 
try He was happy chiefly in the thought of seeing his 
mother again, but he landed at Bombay to be stunned 
with the news that she had died His brothers had 
withheld it from him in the fear that it would prevent 
success in his examinations 

Thinking fondly of his mother’s ceremonial exacti- 
tude, he made pilgrimage to a shnne where he might 
fulfill the ceremonial atonement required of Hindus 
who leave their holy land by crossing the “black 
waters ” However, the future leader of India was not 
scrupulous enough in these matters fully to satisfy 
sticklers for orthodoxy in his own district The shy 
young graduate, with drooping under eyelids and the be- 
ginings of a mustache above his wistful mouth, one side 
of his face feminine and poetic, the othei with features 
obstmate and almost forbiddmg, had no heart to fre- 

14011 



EMINENT ASIANS 


quent the old home He undertook rather to establish 
himself m law m Bombay, booming capital of new In- 
dian industry He soon came m contact with several 
outstanding older men who appreciated his quality and 
became mentors and comforters to him 

They were the “Father of Indian Nationalism,” the 
Parsi, Dadabhai Naoroji, who first helped him apply 
“good for evil” m a public controversy, the jeweler 
poet and mystic, Rajachandra, whose understanding 
and poise calmed Gandhi’s spiritual upsets, and the 
young Gopal K Gokhale, three years his senior, who 
was to win fame as educational reformer and forerunner 
of the Indian mdependence movement Gandhi adored 
these men, yet he did not choose any among them gum 
of his life — the spiritual guide every Hindu looks for 
He demanded nothing short of perfection 

When the keen edge of his mourning wore off he 
sent for his wife Kasturbai and the child At once they 
fell to quarreling Though still m love with her, Gandhi 
sent her home to shame her as a rejected wife “I did 
not take her back,” he says, “until I had made her 
utterly miserable Later I recognized and deeply re- 
pented my folly ” 

Conscientiousness gained him respect, even from 
enemies, and like Lincoln, he disproved the common 
saymg that one cannot succeed in the law and be honest 
It was his rule to abandon a case, perhaps abruptly in 
open court, if convinced his client had falsely repre- 
sented it to him In harmony with Jesus’s recommen- 

r 402 1 



MAHATMA GANDHI 

dation to forgive debtors, he declined to undertake 
prosecution for debt Esteem and fame of a particular 
brand began to come to him 

A Hindu firm with interests in South Africa offered 
a one-year contract to conduct a case in Pretoria 
Gandhi went with high hope, little realizing in 1893 
the suffering that lay before him, or that his triumph 
over It would make him the guru of all his people 

In Europe he had suffered from white supercilious- 
ness and his own inferiority complex, but in South 
Africa, a hotbed of racial arrogance comparable only to 
America’s southern states, he immediately came in con- 
tact with the savagery which the dominant race ex- 
hibits when its prejudice or fear is aroused The sur- 
prised, offenseless Indian, much more cultuied and of 
far more elegant speech than his persecutors, found him- 
self thrown out of hotels, out of trams on which he 
had paid his fare, insulted on the streets, beaten and 
kicked The Boers (Dutch pioneers) were more ig- 
norant and fierce than the English — ^justifying the 
meaning that the word, spelled with a double o, has 
acquired 

Indians had been brought under contract as laborers 
to the tropical lowlands of Natal as early as 1860 
Many had chosen to stay on, and had even been en- 
couraged by grants of government land until now they 
were about as numerous as the white settlers in that 
colony. The latter, jealous of prerogative as con- 
querors, had no mind to risk the moral effect on the 

r 1 



EMINENT ASIANS 


natives of excepting any colored race from the social 
tyranny they imposed A policy of “encouraging” re- 
patriation was adopted, stiffened by one legal device 
after another Natal Indians began to migrate to the 
Transvaal and others followed fiom India Especially 
strong feeling arose there White colonists declined 
to allow Indians to come as freemen and add to their 
difficulty in building up a white civilization amid over- 
whelming numbers of blacks The Indians, conscious 
of ancient traditions of civilization and, if not free- 
born in Natal as many were, at least freemen of an- 
other British domain, were not willing tamely to submit 
The uncompromising spirit of the whites aggravated the 
difficulty, tending to bring what they feared, more or 
less Indian-native solidarity 
At first the unreasoning injustice of the Indian’s lot 
sickened Gandhi and left him with a feeling of helpless- 
ness He won his corporation cases, drew his large 
fees, dressed immaculately, and waited for the end of 
his contract to get away A veteran American consular 
official of the “hard-boiled” mentality usually thought 
typical, recalled to me that Gandhi was a “clever, dap- 
per young fellow, well on his way to making a million 
out of the law — then he went nutty over religion and 
race-equality, changed to a breech cloth, and ruined 
a promising career ” He was as ever interested in 
religion, pursuing earnestly the study of Christianity, 
giving special attention to the “crazy Russian,” Tolstoy, 
as its interpreter 


[ 404 ] 



MAHATMA GANDHI 

The Russian eccentric’s writings had fallen into his 
hands just before he left England, and he had written 
Tolstoy a letter, half timid, half impulsive, to which he 
received an exalting answer m Bombay It was the 
beginning of a correspondence and destined to become 
a unique example of the international and interracial 
spread of ideas In Bolshevik days, when official Russia 
was to guffaw at him and men were to tell him Russia 
was utterly matenalistic and evil, he would say “I 
knew Tolstoy ” 

The only members of the ruling race whom he found 
to possess a human feeling for his people were the 
Christian missionaries “Fate,” he says, “cast me into 
the midst of those very fine Christian friends who be- 
longed to the South African General Mission, where 
I saw Wesleyans, Presbyterians, and others ” He read 
some eighty books on Christianity that first year But 
he never could feel satisfied that the Westerners had 
fully comprehended the meaning of religion — ^not even 
of the Christianity they claimed to interpret He was 
impressed that the goal was something deeper than 
the surface of any religion, yet, perhaps, common to 
all religions, a matter for individual attainment 

Reading those things with the prayerful help of these friends, 
[he was to write m 1924], I went on, and they were pilots 
endeavoring to pilot me through all the shoals and dangerous 
rocks that lay ahead They were always asking me, “Well, 
where are you now?” From that day to this day that ques- 
tion has been addressed to me time after time, “Where are 
you now?” I venture to say in the great words of the Vedas, 

[405 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


^‘Nett, nett,” Not this, not this I have been obliged to say, 
if this be Christianity “not this, not this,” and the deepest in 
me tells me that I am right 

An opportunity to put some of this conviction into 
piactice came to him as he was on the eve of leaving 
at the year’s end, m the shape of a petition from the 
leaders of the Indian community in Durban that he 
would undertake their attack m the courts upon the 
discriminatory legislation that had been passed The 
Dutch Transvaal would have shut them out entirely, 
but for fear of giving Britain and Cecil Rhodes a fur- 
ther excuse for the thieatening war Meanwhile Natal 
had followed withdrawal of the land grants by a three 
pound head tax levied on every man, woman, and child, 
prohibition of trade unless accounts were kept in Eng- 
lish, and other annoying conditions 

As always, sense of duty and sympathy for his fellow 
men held Gandhi His people were helpless The 
young barrister, skilled in the white man’s law, was 
their only hope He took the case and made it more 
than “Asiatics versus the South African governments,” 
to be fought on a legal constitutional basis He made 
it “humanity versus social oppression ” He knew full 
well that his weapon of reason would be largely futile 
Sun Yat-sen, Ito, Kemal, or Stahn would have seen 
only one other way to fight — ^violence But Gandhi 
had recourse to the weapon he had discovered in the 
Sermon on the Mount, sanctioned he felt also by the 
deeper meaning of his own religion 

[406 1 



M4HATM/^ GANDHI 

While he contested the unjust laws m the courts, 
he began the long work of organization and discipline 
of his people for the struggle he saw before them He 
assembled representative Indians of Natal, who founded 
the Indian Congress, giving the persecuted community 
their first group expression Showing his early under- 
standing of the necessity for constructive as well as 
purely combative measures and his feeling that cul- 
tural development ranks with political, he organized an 
educational association to provide schools for their chil- 
dren, entirely neglected by the state He taught his 
people to petition, and collected signatures by thou- 
sands After meditation and agonizing prayers he had 
stepped out into the controversial, necessarily sensa- 
tional life natuially so repulsive to him, and the Indian 
community had recognized their leader 

He was, of course, accused of self-seeking, and wealth 
he might readily have had, for the Indians were able 
and willing to pay well for his legal service to their 
cause Instead he refused fees and simplified his physi- 
cal life to that of the yogi 

The principle of government return for Indians not 
willing to become reindentured was accepted by the 
Indian government m 1894 This was a step toward 
peace, but did not make it any easier for those already 
in the country on the old terms Gandhi was effectively 
reenforcing the contention of a minority of whites that 
the Indians were essential to the prosperity of the 
regions that had been developed through their industry 

[407] 



EMINENT ASIANS 

along the coast and entitled to fair treatment every- 
where 

To strengthen his stakes and to get Kasturbai and 
the children (she had been fruitful and borne him two 
more sons, and his attitude toward her had changed) 
Gandhi went to India m 1896 His speeches there in 
widely separated cities aroused intense interest and 
sympathy for the plight of the emigrants Garbled 
reports of his speeches, quoting him as abusing the 
people of Natal, raised such sentiment m Africa that 
upon return he and his party were detained thirty days 
aboard ship at Durban before it was thought safe for 
him to land He finally insisted upon going ashore, only 
to be set upon by a mob of burly whites He was saved 
from brutal death when the plucky wife of a British 
official, Mrs Alexander, heroically sheltered his bruised 
body with her own 

Kasturbai now showed her ability to understand and 
enter into the spirit of his work, and this was the begin- 
ning of a real partnership in which she was to become 
the able commander of the women of his forces How- 
ever, they still had their very human quarrels until 
after the fourth son was born Then Gandhi sug- 
gested that their relationship henceforth be that of 
brother and sister, according to strict brahmacharya 
and Tolstoy’s “kingdom of heaven ” “From that time 
all dissension ceased,” the saint was to say m his Adven- 
tures “I am credited with great energy and quick 
mind although neither my mind nor my body are free 

[408 ] 



MAHATjMA GANDHI 


from disease, and for that celibacy must be thanked 
But how much greater strength and acumen I should 
have brought to my work if the twenty years of indul- 
gence had been avoided ” Gandhi made brahmacharya 
an essential part of his message, and when years later, 
on taking up his work m India, he realized the necessity 
of population control m the betterment of that coim- 
try, the religious argument was strengthened by the 
economic one He could not but blame his physical 
frailness upon early ovenndulgence, and this made him 
regard all sex relationship as destructive only He 
never envisioned the freshening of body and soaring 
of spirit, the softening of ambition and tenderness 
toward fellow man which can arise from ideal physical 
intercourse In his lack of the riches a Browmng pos- 
sessed he was handicapped to guide humanity, although 
the soul’s sweet qualities were gained, Sujt fashion, 
from the marriage with God If the Indian saint had 
done more justice to his body, one feels, and dealt with 
it as understandmgly as with his soul, he would have 
been neither so puzzled nor self-condemned over his 
reactions 


III 

Those were years when the little Dutch republics 
were defying England, and wuming the admiration of 
the world for their pluck, while many a subject people 
were ruefully comparmg that example of valor with 

[ 409 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


their own passivity But quietly and persistently 
Gandhi taught his people that their hope of freedom 
should rest in spintuality This was not to mean lack 
of organization or of biaveiy For him “love youi 
enemies,” nonviolence, was nevertheless an essential 
of Satyagraha, insistence on justice, or perhaps more 
literally truth-gripping He taught his followers to 
condemn fear, in order that tyranny, which succeeds 
only because it utilizes fear, might no longer hold them. 
Adults through his publications and speeches, youth 
through his schools, were being built up in soul-force 
to stand for themselves and show their worth and 
find their place m spite of the scoin of whites and of 
half-conquered natives But he did not, like a Sun 
Yat-sen or a Kemal, expect or plan a new era over- 
night To the man of the spirit, time is an untroubhng 
factor, and he has supreme confidence in the success 
of his methods if adhered to 
Now it seemed that the prospects were fair The 
announced war aims promised amelioration of the In- 
dian status m the Transvaal under Britain, and the 
victory was bound to be hers in the long run Not 
despising political acumen, Gandhi gave an active inter- 
pretation to his Satyagraha by aiding the government in 
every nonmilitary way And from the organization at 
his back he recruited an Indian Red Cross service, 
joined by nearly a thousand, and leading it himself 
was cited for bravery under fire Thus early he notably 
exemplified his dissent from the merely passive con- 

[ 410 ] 



MAHATMA GANDHI 

templation of religious themes It is the pragmatism 
combined with principle which marks a man for leader- 
ship Later it was to show m his Indian career Long 
after at Sabarmati he would explain, “My oblations are 
services to fellow men ” 

With his compatriots, as he thought, fairly set on 
the way to peaceful progress, he turned to the home- 
land and took ship with Kasturbai and the children 
m 1901 after an impressive farewell But m a few 
months they were again begged to return The last 
embers of the war had not been quenched before it 
became apparent that the new arrangements would 
mean less and not more liberty for Indians He had 
received his first betrayal at the hands of British oppor- 
tunism He would patiently suffer many more, and 
then he would turn utterly against white rule Now 
his Indian community begged his aid m presentmg their 
memorials' to the government 

At once he assented and enrolled himself as a resi- 
dent m Pretoria early in 1903 The first move in his 
campaign was the founding of an organ, Indian Opin- 
ion, which he edited in English and Gujrati It was 
the forerunner of a tremendous volume of publishing 
Then, in 1904, his eleventh African year, he foimded 
his first ashram, or retreat, m the form of an agricul- 
tural colony at Phoenix, fourteen miles from Durban, 
Natal, putting into it all his wealth There he came 
at mtervals when the pressure of his duties which cen- 
tered around Johannesburg would permit, and there he 

[411] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


offered a home to any who would come and live, along 
with him, according to the vow of poverty and self- 
contiol For himself he claimed but two loin cloths 
He was bidding farewell to the piide of life No more 
would he be known as the dappei dressed, the clever 
lawyer, or even the mere statesman of his people They 
were to call him the Great Soul, the Mahatma 

His mam occupation was organizing sentiment 
against new restrictions upon residence m the Trans- 
vaal that were preparing, to be imposed even on In- 
dians there before the British came They involved 
a principle of segregation and of degrading class re- 
strictions injurious to the pride and harmful to the 
prosperity of his countrymen A diversion came when 
bubonic plague broke out in the unspeakable slum which 
was their residence quartei in Johannesburg Gandhi, 
disdaining red tape, turned a store that was standing 
vacant into a pest house, by his prestige enforcing iso- 
lation which effectively stopped spread of an epidemic 

In spite of all he could do, the laws lestiictmg the 
liberties of Asiatics in South Africa were bemg made 
more stringent Yet Gandhi so far demonstrated his 
good will as to provide a corps of stretcher bearers who 
served during the suppression of the black insuirection 
in the early part of 1906 It might seem he was aiding 
the tyrant against weak fellow-sufferers, but then 
Gandhi would have opposed violent resistance among 
his own Indians 

The whites had a strong suspicion that the registra- 
[412] 



MAHATMA GANDHI 

tion laws were being evaded by Asiatics through imper- 
sonation of legitimate certificate holders by impostors 
To meet this, it was decreed by the party in power that 
all Asiatics were to register again, and this time leave 
thumb prints for identification, and have them on their 
certificates “Like paroled prisoners i ” they exclaimed 
Gandhi, to whom the dignity of his people was even 
more important than their freedom, called for unfalter- 
ing resistance by way of mass refusal This was re- 
ligiously vowed by him and his following in a mass 
meeting at Johannesburg m September, 1906 He and 
a Muhammadan, All, were sent to London to protest, 
and obtained suspension of the ordinance until such 
time as a constitutional government should again be es- 
tablished in the conquered Transvaal But when that 
came a little later, the same regulation was promul- 
gated Passive resistance started on a large scale the 
latter part Of 1907, and Gandhi, as its leader, was im- 
prisoned two months The authorities could not afford 
to keep him long, either then or later, lest his followers 
get out of hand and forget the passive basis of his 
program He was willing to go far to demonstrate 
reasonableness and faith in the new British over-rule, 
and accepted a compromise that he would set the ex- 
ample of registering again, and the authorities on their 
part would repeal some of the obnoxious laws which 
the registry had been intended to help enforce 
As a result, on the way to the place of registry, 
Gandhi was set upon and beaten almost to death by 

[413] 



EMINENT ASIANS 

former Muhammadan followers who maintained that 
he was violating them and betraying the vow by com- 
promising on the issue He insisted on being taken to 
the registry office, where he completed the formality 
before he fell unconscious The people as a whole fol- 
lowed him in the compromise The Musselman fanatic 
who delivered the almost fatal blow over the head was 
arrested by the British, and Gandhi was summoned to 
testify agamst him Gandhi had fought for both sects 
without discrimination Here was a fine opportunity 
for a split in the Indian community which would nullify 
his work But he refused to swear a complaint or 
testify ‘‘The man will yet be my friend and advocate 
our cause,” he said The less numerous but vigorous 
Muslem section of the community was deeply impressed 
with this saintly action, and heie began the ordinarily 
despised Hindu teacher’s extraordinary influence upon 
those of the rival religion. 

But the government, now the people were registered, 
refused to fulfill its part of the bargain In their wrath, 
the people burned up the new legistration certificates. 
Gandhi justified them in this, and passive resistance 
was again the watchword, not only among Indians, but 
among Chinese, Malays, and the rest of Asia there 
The Mahatma’s little Asiatic league stuck together in 
a way that presaged how the continent of Asia now 
unites against the white man’s oppression Severe pen- 
alties were decreed When the authorities began to 
seize and jail numbers of delinquents, Gandhi helped 

[ 414 ] 



MAHATMA GANDHI 

by recommending voluntary surrender Men and 
women of all classes went m groups and requested to 
be jailed Kasturbai was one of the first to respond 
to her husband’s call With some high caste women 
as companions she went and asked to be incarcerated 
The authorities accommodated them for three months 
But soon the jails were overflowing The overflow of 
prisoners had to be put in open mine workings There 
many died Gandhi got two months, with hard labor 
this time, m the latter part of 1908 But always his 
authority was needed on the outside to restrain his 
people The situation was becoming as embarrassing 
for an “enlightened white man’s government” as it was 
distressful for the Asiatic victims and the government 
had not the religious exaltation they enjoyed, to bolster 
It up 

Released, Gandhi was again deputized to go to Lon- 
don and seelk the good offices of the “home” authorities 
for relief He landed in the middle of 1909 and devoted 
himself to securing what might be welcomed as an hon- 
orable compromise As a result, advice from London 
in October the following year, to which the Transvaal 
government assented m principle, recommended repeal 
of the stringent amendments of the alien residence 
laws that had been passed Gandhi was willing to con- 
sent to limitation of residence if it could be put on 
an equitable basis which would not single out his own 
countrymen as undesirables A South African deputy 
was sent to India, and the question of treatment of 

[4151 



EMINENT ASIANS 


expatriates took its place m Indian politics Telegrams 
regarding the matter came from as widely separated 
places as Simla and Peking 

Attempts were made with education tests and “demo- 
cratic country of origin” tests to exclude the type of 
person aimed at — ^but always there were border-line 
classes who took alarm East Europeans, Levantines 
The question, “Are Jews Asiatics?” was raised And 
to the greater embariassment of Gandhi’s party it was 
recalled that large numbeis of his proteges weie “un- 
touchable” in their own country — ^subject to far more 
galling restriction in India if they went back than what 
was proposed here Gandhi would not admit that a 
wrong there justified one here On the other hand, 
the white parliament, determined to favor an increase 
of white population with European standards of living, 
was pledged to restriction of Asiatics, no matter what 
London government or local executives might promise 
It was glad to welcome a court decision that wounded 
the tenderest sensibilities of the Indians The question 
had been raised as to whether Indian women might 
come in as wives of residents The court decreed that 
since the rites of Indian marriage did not bind the 
parties to monogamy, it was technically polygamous 
(even though all save the Muslems were restricted to 
one mate) and so inadmissible The decree legally 
voided the marriages of those women who were m the 
colony These had always been as few as was natural 
among contract laborers—to the satisfaction of the 

[ 416 ] 



MAHATMA GANDHI 


whites, who were divided between a desire to have 
Indians to work and a determination not to be sup- 
planted by them 

Gokhale came to mediate and received a verbal 
promise of repeal from the government He returned 
to India confident of Gandhi’s ability to “see it 
through ” The two men were not to meet again 

But in 1912 and 1913, when the proposals for new 
legislation came out, it was seen that instead of giving 
relief they ratified old causes of complaint and made 
new ones The standing grievance of the poll tax on 
nonindentured laborers and restriction on license to 
trade was perpetuated in aggravated form There was 
a great outcry, both in Africa and in India Strikes 
followed in every industry dependent on Indian labor, 
and the pocketbooks of the whites were hard hit 
Gandhi gave shelter at his ashram to all strikers who 
wished to come The government soon found it desir- 
able to appoint a committee to negotiate Gandhi re- 
membered the end of the previous compromise He 
determined to give the arrogant whites a convincing 
demonstration of the spirit of his people He set under 
way a vast procession of protest toward the Transvaal 
Its marching orders were “Johannesburg or jail ” At 
first the comfortable white population scoffed at the 
motley stream of men, women, and children reverently 
making its way across the country behind its frail, loin- 
cloth-girded prophet The numbers swelled with each 
step, and the mterest of the world was concentrated 

[417] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


on the scene Children were born en route — mother 
and babe were hoisted m stretchers on the shoulders 
of fellow-pilgrims and earned along A babe in arms 
died — its mother bathed the little body with her tears 
and left it by the roadside, marching on “for the cause ” 
The London Times commented “It was a most re- 
markable manifestation of passive resistance ” 

In its usual led-faced embarrassment the colonial 
government arrested Gandhi and clapped him in jail, 
thinking that with the leader gone the demonstration 
would cease, but it only grew — in turbulence as well 
as m numbers — and the Mahatma was released on bail 
He quickly caught up with the procession and resumed 
his place again at its head The government arrested 
the marchers wholesale and crammed the jails Still 
the orderly thousands, chanting Vedic hymns, continued 
on their way Finally in desperation the government 
surrounded the entire procession near the Tiansvaal 
border, sorted out the marchers according to district, 
put them on trains, and took them under arrest to their 
own doors Some were held in jail, and Gandhi received 
a sentence of nine months at hard labor However in 
two months all were out 

At this moment there came into the life of Gandhi 
two Englishmen who were to play large parts in his 
cause and become his interpreters to the Western world 
C F Andrews and W W Pierson, young missionaries 
of nonconformist minds well versed in Indian culture 
and politics, had recently associated themselves with 

[ 418 ] 



MAHATMA GANDHI 

Rabindranath Tagore’s philosophy and university when 
Gandhi’s spectacular march centered the eyes of the 
Indian world on him and South Africa Gokhale, now 
head of the ultra-official Indian National Congress, 
called for some one to go and lead a second march 
when Gandhi was jailed, and with Tagore’s approval 
these two Englishmen volunteered They were wel- 
comed at the Durban pier by a delegation of Indians 
One “intelligent but modestly unprepossessing little 
man,” as Andrews expresses it, was chattmg with them 
about conditions when Andrews recognized a leader 
known to have been sentenced with Gandhi “Oh, are 
you out’” he exclaimed “Then possibly Mr Gandhi 
IS released also Do you know where he is^” The 
unpretentious little man said quietly, “I am Gandhi ” 

British regard of world opinion had made it unnec- 
essary for the two British idealists to lead the next 
Indian demonstration, but their services were abun- 
dantly useful in the negotiations Public opinion was 
aroused throughout the world anent colonial tyranny 
Some of the strike disorders had resulted m loss of 
life 

Difficulties of expatriates in Africa and Canada were 
adding greatly to the ferment which was threatening 
a general outbreak in India Lord Hardinge, the vice- 
roy, took the bold step in late 1913 of dealing with the 
African situation in a public speech m Madras, force- 
fully calling the attention of the Home Government 
Upon invitation the Indian government sent a man to 

[419] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


cooperate with African authority in investigation of 
conditions, and a Royal Commission went out Gandhi’s 
position had been made clear He wanted immigration 
laws to be put upon a noniacial basis, to secure the 
right of Indians born in Africa to visit India and return, 
abolition of the three-pound poll tax, i edification of the 
law about mairiages, reform in method and spirit of 
administering the existing laws regarding residence, etc 
Now he and his followers, m view of broken agreements 
in the past, disdained to cooperate with the investiga- 
tion However it went on without them, and the result 
was a series of recommendations to which even the 
extremely prejudiced General Smuts felt obliged to 
agree 

The terms were agreed upon in June, 1914, and 
Gandhi and a delegation waited patiently at the State 
House for General Smuts’ signature News came that 
Kasturbai, whose health had steadily failed since her 
release from prison, lay d 5 ang at the ash am, begging to 
see her husband Andrews said “You must go and 
leave this to me ” Gandhi wiped the mist from his 
eyes and replied “I must stay here until the agreement 
is signed I must not risk another betrayal of my 
people I entrust Mrs Gandhi to God ” 

Andrews bethought himself of Smuts’ habit of going 
to his office at six thirty or seven o’clock in the morning, 
and went there to wait for him “I can’t see you now 
— I can’t see any one,” was the Dutch general’s annoyed 
greeting Andrews overtook the premier at the door 

[420] 



MAHATMA GANDHI 

of his inner office “Mrs Gandhi is dying/’ he said in a 
low voice “Oh then come in' ’’ 

“Mr Gandhi will not go to her side until the docu- 
ment IS signed,” persisted Andrews The general pulled 
it out of his desk “Will you assure me that everything 
IS as arranged — that the government’s interests are fully 
protected?” “Yes,” said Andrews Smuts signed with- 
out fuither reading and Andrews rushed with the docu- 
ment to Gandhi, who set off at once for his wife’s bed- 
side Slowly she recovered Andrews attributes a great 
deal of the honesty with which the agreement was kept 
to the dramatic conditions under which it was signed, 
and highly praises Smuts’ graciousness Possibly the 
idealism for which he was to receive credit following the 
World War was watered by contact with the spirit of 
the great Indian and his associates 

The government yielded concessions on the mam 
points Indian immigration in general was to be stopped, 
but migration among the different colonies permitted 
(The government of India had stopped recruitment of 
indentured labor in 1912 ) However, Indians were to 
be allowed to bring in wives, and polygamy was to be 
a question of number of wives, and not of the cere- 
mony of the wedding The three-pound tax was 
abolished Separate educational facilities were to be 
provided Thus the way was opened for the Indians 
to become amalgamated to the structure of the colony 
They had learned the lesson that they were not help- 
less, that they had rights and could defend them with- 

[421] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


out wronging any one Gandhi was satisfied for the 
time Some of his followers would have been for keep- 
ing up passive resistance until they had gained their 
other aims the franchise, freedom to own land, impar- 
tial granting of trading licenses He was unwilling to 
take advantage of the violent labor troubles on the 
Rand at the time, and advocated advance step by step 

It was the fateful midyear of 1914 that the Mahatma, 
his stubbly hair by now sprinkled with white, thin as 
a mummy, felt he could leave Africa and give response 
to the tremendous demand which his work for the ex- 
patriates had created for him m India A case of 
pleurisy was the immediate cause for his departure His 
sons had long since gone to the Motherland to receive 
the best education obtainable, and the eldest had 
already attained note as a lawyei Gandhi had dis- 
approved He had come to regaid the legal profession 
as immoral But the son, appealing to his father’s 
example, had been permitted to work out his own 
salvation 

At the boat, Gandhi, Kasturbai, and several disciples 
who accompanied him were loaded down with presents 
by a grateful people Not to discourage the good feel- 
ing of the moment, Gandhi received them, but en route 
to Bombay he insisted they be turned back to the Indian 
community for welfare work Kasturbai is described 
as having handed over her necklace of gold, such as 
Indian women so love to wear on every limb and finger, 
m a torrent of tears Gandhi, agreeing with the British 

[422 ] 



MAHATMA GANDHI 


economists that the infatuation for hoarding gold is one 
of the reasons for India’s poverty, and having the more 
important incentive of spiritual humility, could never 
approve of his wife’s wearing this trinket And she 
understood and wanted to support him, but — she was 
still a woman After this sacrifice she, too, became a 
saint 

Gandhi was shocked to find new machine manufac- 
tures ruining the home industry income of the home- 
land peasants, forcing them to the cities to live m even 
greater poverty and squalor than the community with 
which he had worked twenty-one years in South Africa 
Before beginning in his new field he thought it desirable 
to lenew his acquaintances and connections in England, 
and there he went with Kasturbai Suddenly the World 
War began He and his wife enrolled in a volunteer 
service corps composed of the Indians m London But 
the climate was too damp for his weakened lungs and 
the begmning of 1915 found him back again in India 
He was saddened by the death of his old friend and 
mentor, Gokhale, but a great place was left vacant 
which he was shortly to fill Gandhi said of him “He 
seemed to me all I wanted in a political leader He was 
pure as crystal, gentle as a lamb, brave as a lion, and 
chivalrous to a fault ” 

Gandhi’s interests had been primarily social, but the 
War created a tremendous need for him m the political 
field Forces for insurrection had been piling up Ter- 
rorism had almost made an end of orderly government 

[423 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


in Bengal More or less followed by the police, a revo- 
lutionary plot was maturing It was too great an oppor- 
tunity for the German enemy to miss And it was their 
maladroit effort to establish a liaison that stirred the 
authorities to arrests 

Arms in India the plotteis would have seized were 
shipped to the War area So the country was spared 
what might or might not have gone down in histoiy as 
a glorious revolution It was all over so quietly that 
one of Gandhi’s supporters could say later, “India had 
never dreamed of revolution,” nor of “anarchical 
crimes,” in spite of isolated instances of bomb throwing 

It was to this situation that Gandhi returned, and he 
embarked on a program of speaking all over the country 
that was to take him a year The government rewarded 
his influence for peace and loyalty by conferring the 
Kmsar-t-Hmd medal Under the stern provisions of the 
Defence of India Bill, passed early in the year, and the 
conciliatory power of Lord Hardinge’s government, the 
sporadic mutinies ceased and the country settled down 
peacefully to bear its share of the burdens of the War 

In 1916, as a center for his teaching, Gandhi estab- 
lished another ashram, not far from Ahmedabad in his 
home province, calling it Satyagraha — “Truthgiip ” 
With that absence of demand for haste which differen- 
tiates the spiritual man from the professional reformer, 
he started a slow enlightenment of India from this cen- 
ter There was much groundwork to be laid, in his 
opinion, before self-government could be claimed 

[424] 



IMAHATMA GANDHI 

Periodical dissensions between Hindus and Muhamma- 
dans, involving some bloodshed, revealed the greatest 
weakness in his nation He used his “soul-force” to 
mediate the difficulties between indigo planters and 
tenants in Bihar He went frankly against the govern- 
ment at Kaira, when the crops failed, and the tax 
officials did not make humane allowance nor heed the 
peasants’ petitions Gandhi advised them to decline to 
pay taxes or utilize the administration m any way 
They solidly endured a few months’ persecution, ending 
with adjustment by the government Gandhi’s capacity 
to lead his people to victory against wrongs was 
established 

Regarding the European War, Gandhi accepted the 
orthodox Allied interpretation that it was to establish 
justice and end war He had such a desire to “play 
fair” with the British that he even advocated enlistment, 
up to the very time of its close How, one may well 
ask, could a man devoted to the principle of nonvio 
lence do that> For the deviation from principle in- 
volved in this recognition of violence “I was to be 
severely punished,” he was to say later, referring to the 
trouble caused in India by the War and by Britain’s 
repudiation of wartime promises to the Indian people 
At the time Gandhi felt that “the mouse who does not 
resist the cat is not practicing virtue Men should be 
able to fight, both in body and in spirit, and then con- 
trollmg that ability they will have their greatest victory 
m passive resistance But m the meantime those who 

[425 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


have not yet had faith to comprehend this, and who 
still take piide in force might as well, might better, use 
that force on the side of justice ” He had not yet given 
up hope of steady progress toward liberty in cooperation 
with the British, noi had he yet suffered the disillusion- 
ment which was to come to so many — that the winning 
side did not fight for virtue only 

Menaced by the Irish rebellion and Muslem disaffec- 
tion, Lloyd George, fearing that a wavering Indian 
allegiance might turn the scales against Great Britain, 
promised through Montagu and Chelmsford a constitu- 
tion for India that would provide a large share of home 
rule The idea was uncompiomisingly opposed by the 
civil service there, who not only saw their supremacy 
endangered, but looking with the usual Occidental dis- 
dain upon Asiatics sincerely believed that Indians are 
incapable of exercising the functions of government 
Meanwhile, more than a million of India’s young 
men went into the War, in one capacity or another A 
volunteer regiment was even raised in notoriously re- 
bellious (and nonmilitary) Bengal Indian capital to 
the amount of a hundred million pounds was subscribed 
to war loans Indian industry enjoyed the stimulus of 
military patronage, and the cloth factories got peima- 
nently free from an abusive tax which had discriminated 
against them in favor of Manchester In spite of danger 
along the northern border, Britain was able at one time 
to reduce her effectives in the country to only fifteen 
thousand men 


[ 426 ] 



MAHATMA GANDHI 

Wai prosperity went with increased cost of living, in 
spite of regulations to curb profiteering, and satisfied 
neither dealer nor consumer The Muslems were anx- 
iously watching the fate of their holy places and the 
Caliph, and anticipating with misgivings their future 
m a democracy where they would be outnumbered by 
rival religionists whom they had treated badly 

As the War ended, young Indians who felt their coun- 
try had done its part were impatient for the reforms 
promised in 1917 and 1918 But manifestations of this 
feeling were drastically suppressed by the unsym- 
pathetic civil service, with no restraining hand from 
London The British government was engaged in the 
most amazing imperialistic enterprise of its history 
Lloyd George and Winston Churchill seemed carried 
away with the belief that with Germany defeated and 
Russia on her knees, British dominance could be ex- 
tended indefinitely 

The voice for united Indian opinion was the National 
Congress, founded thirty years before by two liberal 
Englishmen who aimed to create a loyal pohtical- 
mindedness of progressive tinge among the natives 
For many years previous to the War, Gandhi’s old 
mentor, Gokhale, had dominated the organization, but 
a younger group had grown dissatisfied with his modera- 
tion Leader of the extremists had been the rough old 
prophet, Tilak, credited with compounding the politi- 
cal watchword, Swaraj — from Sanscrit roots surviving 
also in the French words, sot, regent Gandhi put forth 

[427] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


intense effort to interpret it “self-iule” in the wide sense 
of Solomon’s dictum “He that is slow to anger is better 
than the mighty, and he that ruleth his spirit than he 
that taketh a city ” He had a deep faith that the 
material victory would follow the spiritual But he 
was destined to go far beyond Gokhale whom he en- 
dorsed 

Tilak was political-minded, though he found his ap- 
pealmg issues largely in the defense of social and 
religious prejudices At the time of Gandhi’s return 
he had just been released at the age of sixty-eight from 
SIX years’ prison exile on the charge of editorial lauda- 
tion of the young terrorist assassins who fought the 
partition of Bengal Gokhale in his dying days had 
plead in vain that Tilak model ate his attitude — “be 
reasonable ” Tilak had been pioneer in the use of boy- 
cott as a means of swadesh, that is, industiial inde- 
pendence by rejection of foreign goods "Supporting 
Arubindo Ghose, chiefly concerned with native culture, 
he had favored the project of Indiamzing education as 
an offset to the un-national British schools His fervor 
to be first among those averse to England had not cooled 
by his imprisonment 

Gokhale had passed on leadership of the unofficial 
Congress to Satyendra Sinha (afterwards Lord and Gov- 
ernor of Behar) and his ability dominated the session 
at the close of 1915 But next year it was Tilak and 
Mrs Besant who won the plaudits of the Congress at 
Lucknow That versatile lady, Irish, born in London, 

[428] 



MAHATMA GANDHI 

long ardent m Socialism and Theosophy, had turned 
her energy to Indian politics and founded an Indian 
Home Rule League of her own Her ability, following, 
and fame among the British united to make her accept- 
able as a leader, and next year she was rewarded with 
the presidential chair — ^woman and Westerner though 
she was Without her influence, perhaps, the authori- 
ties would have looked less kindly upon the founding 
of a great Hindu university near Benares, which she 
pushed through 

Gandhi was to be hailed as successor to all these 
great names because to him it was given as to an authen- 
tic seer, to found the superficial agitation upon hitherto 
scarcely realized depths of principle Swaraj, the pro- 
tection and reinvigoration of native culture, nonviolent 
resistance combined in Gandhi’s mind at maturity to 
produce the profoundest expression of the spiritual 
genius of 'India in modern times He owed much to 
his predecessors, still more to the lessons of his ex- 
perience in Africa For the unselfish and truly spiritual 
personal quality with which he glorified his task, the 
world will not find a parallel since St Francis of Assisi 

It is said that during the first year after his return 
he was deterred from expounding his program of pas- 
sive resistance by a promise given to the dying Gokhale 
The prolonged years of war and the moral issues thought 
to be involved bade him be patient In the Kaira 
taxation affair he had shown what could be done, but 
m the mam he stood for cooperation among the people 

[ 429 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


and with the government His voice was heard in this 
cause in many parts of the country, and fame and credit 
were his among whites and natives alike Meanwhile 
his intimacy with the problems of India was becoming 
more complete, and the need of healing her divisions 
more clear 

His first great political stroke was the winning of the 
Muslem community by persuading the Congress to take 
as its own the defense of the Sultan as occupant of 
Muhammad’s spiritual throne — the Khalifat (Cali- 
phate) movement The Muhammadan world outside 
of Turkey, whxch had failed to fulfill Geiman expecta- 
tions by uniting against the Allies, felt at this time be- 
trayed by an ungrateful England, who, it believed, 
Ignored war-time assurances and sided with France and 
America to rmn Islam by annihilating native rule in 
Turkey, Morocco, and Arabia At the end of 1916 the 
Lucknow Pact defined the alliance between the Indian 
National Congress and the Indian Muslem League The 
unrevenged blows he had borne at Musselman hands 
had come to fruitage 

Gandhi’s association of Indian Independence and 
Hindu-Muslem unity with the Caliph’s cause was to 
prove a dangerous policy, as well as one — the only one 
— to lay him open to an accusation of time-serving 
But for several years it was to make him dictator of 
Indian opmion 

In the last year of the War two grave investigations 
were concluded One of these was the inquiry on sedi- 

[430] 



MAHATMA GANDHI 

tious crimes, dealing with the disaffection befoie the 
War, the other was the Montagu-Chelmsford survey on 
self-government, preparatory to fulfillment of England’s 
promises Its proposal of representative government in 
matters of chiefly social administration and crown con- 
trol in those affecting political sovereignty was at once 
rejected by Indian extremists like Tilak The angered 
British wondered whether his group favored agitation 
for the impossible as surest way to gam everything pos- 
sible, or whether he was merely vexed, as an old man, 
to sense that full realization of his hopes could not 
come m his day Those on the other side, as C F 
Andrews, were equally impressed with his nobility and 
devotion to prmciple A large moderate element hailed 
the Montagu reform as very promising, and grouped 
themselves into a separate liberal Congress to criticize 
and make suggestions 

Somewhat aloof from Congress pohtics himself, 
Gandhi recommended cooperation The new plan did 
indeed point to a future government, increasingly demo- 
cratic and Western in form Yet, “What of that?” 
some thought — “What has blood-draggled Western 
democracy that we should be content to see India on 
that road?” This was another kind of discontent, ob- 
sessed with nostalgia for half-mythical glories of ancient 
Hind, vaguely aspiring to find a purely Indian formula 
for their renewal Gandhi thought he knew that 
formula, but would have worked it out while avoiding 
friction with other well-meant programs 

[ 431 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


The crisis came when the haughty Lloyd George- 
Churchill government sought to repress with the one 
hand while holding out the bait of fieedom with the 
othei Its first new Indian measures weie based not 
on the Montagu-Chelmsfoid report but on the sedi- 
tion inquiry, and weie not the promised liberal constitu- 
tion but the Rowlatt Acts — extending pait of the war 
regulations over into peace time and suspending Anglo- 
Saxon fundamental rights of man which the British 
themselves had made a standard of justice in the 
country The object was to prevent Indian bairisteis 
utilizing the loopholes of law in defending perpetratois 
and inciters of violence Intense agitation followed, led 
by men who had acquired the Western viewpoint on 
liberty, by others, too, no doubt, who chiefly planned 
to renew the pre-War insurrection Sentiment was 
worked up to the point of violent eruption among the 
benighted masses and the half-enlightened 

The Acts threw the whole country into a violent 
frame of mind which brought a crisis upon Gandhi’s 
program of nonviolence Gandhi’s chief objection was 
the deep one of the defender of race dignity and 
equality For himself the white man must have consti- 
tutional guarantees He was willing to concede that 
government without them was good enough for his 
colored subjects 

The Mahatma saw the time for demonstrating on a 
large scale the power he had learned in Africa. The 
hope of being of spiritual benefit, of preventing violence 

[ 432 ] 



MAHATMA GANDHI 

while gaming justice, drew him into the political arena 
From his Satyagraha Ashram m February, 1919, he pro- 
claimed what he called the “Satyagraha Movement ” 
Its essence was the right and duty of people to disobey 
an unjust law He exemplified it by starting a paper, 
the Satyagraht, which he refused to legister under the 
objectionable press regulations The British soon closed 
it down It was his first personal clash with the gov- 
ernment in India The combined agitation and the 
arguments of Indian members of the legislative coun- 
cils only availed to bring amendments limiting life of 
the obnoxious bill to 1922 and more closely safeguarding 
its application, and government-constituted majorities 
passed it in March 

Gandhi called for a strike or hartal, combined with 
prayer and fasting, for March 30 (generally postponed 
till a week later) which was to inaugurate a national 
program o'f nonviolent resistance Rioters in Delhi 
tried to enforce this on the indifferent, and had a fatal 
clash with the interfering police In dread of violence, 
Gandhi rushed to quiet his followers, but was not per- 
mitted to enter the Punjab News of his detention 
added fuel to the fire Hindus and Muhammadans, 
their differences temporarily forgotten, rose with one 
accord all over the Punjab and Bombay provinces and 
news of arson, plunder, and murder of Europeans 
crowded the wires. 

Gandhi did important service m restoring peace and 
order in the Bombay Presidency, vehemently address- 

[433 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


ing his followers personally at Ahmedabad, metropolis 
of his home district But his influence was not allowed 
m the north, and there the cml authorities called on the 
military The great city of Amritsar was haiiied for 
days by a murderous mob of mixed religious complexion 
The population of that city is mixed Hindu and Muham- 
madan, but it IS a center and site of the famous “Golden 
Temple” of the Sildi sectaries, those virile religionists 
of North India, used by England as her most trusty 
fighters and policemen thioughout her Asiatic posses- 
sions, yet now to appear as potential menace to her 
rule 

General Dyer was called to take charge, and issued 
orders against public gatherings of any sort Three 
days later, a throng of between six and ten thousand 
gathered in a square, the Jallianwalla Bagh, destined 
to become the “Black Hole” of Indian nationalists, 
listening to speakers urging their just claim* to govern- 
ment consideration Many Sikhs present had come 
from out of town foi a festival and did not know the 
rule that had been made To Dyer it was an oppor- 
tunity to demonstrate that orders are orders He lined 
up fifty riflemen at the other side of the square from 
the speaker’s stand and coolly opened fire without warn- 
ing The narrow entries, which alone had prevented 
bringing in the machine gun carriages, also prevented 
quick escape of the crowd, so the slaughter continued 
under his direction for ten minutes When he marched 
his men back to quarters nearly four hundred lay dead 

1434] 



MAHATMA GANDHI 

m the square and about twelve hundred wounded were 
left to shift as they could 

It was one of those cruel and crucial mistakes which 
the dominating white man suddenly driven into “funk” 
IS liable to make when he sees the overwhelming num- 
bers against him It was the same sort of thing which 
happened when Captain Everson fired on the Chmese 
students in front of Louza police station in Shanghai 
m 1925 Like that event it stands as the atrocity 
marking the beginning of the end of the white man’s 
rule in its particular country 

Martial law was proclaimed, the censorship clamped 
tight, while a reign of terror ensued in the province 
The military showed ingenuity in devising degrading 
and unusual punishments There were floggings and en- 
forced crawlings Armored cars and bombing planes 
mingled the remains of guilty and innocent when in- 
volved in protesting mobs Order by frightfulness had 
been attained by the end of April, before the news could 
leak out 

Gandhi had called for punishment upon Dyer The 
Standing Committee of the National Congress appointed 
a commission of which Gandhi was a member to investi- 
gate the rumors Horror and incredulity mingled in 
greetmg their report, but the government ignored it in 
haughty silence for a tune Eventually, as world con- 
demnation increased. Dyer was taken out of India— 
to be given a promotion and retired 

However, Gandhi did not give up expecting justice 

[435 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


from the government In London the ponderous new 
Montagu-Chelmsford constitutional enactment ad- 
vanced to second reading and debate in Pailiament 
India had almost forgotten it After excoriation by 
every sort of public voice, in which Gandhi led, the 
Indian government took official notice of the Amritsar 
affair and appointed the Committee of Investigation 
(including a minonty of natives) Long months of 
taking testimony over the massacre began 

Meanwhile old pi evocations rankled The Rowlatt 
Acts stayed on the books, though destined nevei to be 
applied Plague and cholera kept up their toll, and 
there were local famines Worse than these, the in- 
fluenza came, which affected half the population and 
killed more in a year than the plague had in ten (about 
thirteen million) The nation’s nerves were on edge 

Muslem resentment over the predicament of the 
Sultan-Caliph at Constantinople increased ’ The lead- 
ers organized in November, 1919, an all-India Khalifat 
(Caliphate) Conference Gandhi, Hindu, was invited 
to preside over the assembly He had made himself 
responsible for India’s hardest, most precarious task, 
unification of Muslem and Hindu partisanship into one 
nationalism 

Old Clive and Hastings had established hold on India 
by taking sides in the contests among Hindu princes 
and their rebellion against a decadent Muslem emperor 
Her hold on the country still depended upon Hindu- 
Muslem schism British civil servants would always 

[ 436 ] 



MAHATMA GANDHI 

fall back upon this as the great justification of British 
rule in India If Gandhi’s leadership could bring ex- 
change of that enmity for united political sentiment, 
alien lule would be automatically brought to an end 
“As soon as we shoe unity, the British will step out — 
they are sensible people,” he said “To paraphrase the 
saying of a rough British protagonist of the commoner’s 
struggle in England Tf we Indians could only spit in 
unison, we would form a puddle big enough to drown 
300,000 Englishmen ’ ” 

It has been popular to laugh at the apparent ab- 
surdity of his attempt, but his “aggressive saintliness” 
seemingly was to accomplish more toward that goal by 
1922 than what we are wont to call civilized rule had 
done m a century After that were to come dark deeds 
and doubtful moves 

The Musselmans, who had been the mam reliance of 
the British, became for the time the most audacious ad- 
herents of Gandhi’s noncooperation His strategy re- 
ceived its first public adoption in this Muhammadan 
Khalifat Assembly It went beyond Gandhi and de- 
clared for the drastic means named long before, after 
Bntish Captain Boycott by resentful Irish tenants, now 
become Asia’s own weapon of nationahsm 

Gandhi waited upon British justice until June The 
anger of his people could be restrained no longer He 
must either direct their action or withdraw cravenly and 
let it burst forth into futureless violence 

He who had been loyal to the British raj by tradi- 

[437 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


tion and experience assumed the headship of implacable 
opposition to it in a ringing challenge to the Viceroy 
The letter sheds strong light upon Gandhi’s character 
It was followed by another in August They contain 
the paragraphs 

The only course open to me is eithei in despaii to sever 
all connection with British rule or, if I still retain faith in 
the inheient supeiiority of the British Constitution to adopt 
such means as will rectify the wrong done and thus restore 
confidence I have not lost faith in the supeiiority of the 
British Constitution and it is because I believe in it that 
I have advised my Muslem friends to withdiaw then support 
fiom Your Excellency’s government, and advised the Hindus 
to join them 

It IS not without a pang that I leturn the Kaisar-i-Hind 
Gold Medal granted to me by youi predecessoi for my hu- 
manitarian woik m South Africa, the Zulu War Medal, granted 
in South Africa for my services as officer in chaige of the 
Indian Volunteei Ambulance Coips m 1906, and the Boer War 
Medal for my services as assistant superintendent of the Indian 
Volunteer Stretchei -bearer Corps during the Boei Wai of 
1899-1900 

But, he adds, after referring to the scenes that took 
place in the Punjab and the events back of the Caliphate 
movement 

I can retain neither respect nor affection for a government 
which has been moving from wrong to wrong m order to 
defend its immorality The government must be moved 
to repentance 

I have therefore ventured to suggest non-cooperation, 
which enables those who wish to disassociate themselves from 

[438 ] 



MAH'^TMA GANDHI 


the government and which, if unattended by violence, must 
compel the government to retrace its steps and undo its 
wrongs 


The Viceroy, Lord Chelmsford, retorted by calling 
Gandhi’s “the most foolish of all foolish schemes ” 
Hundreds of noted Indians followed his example 
Sir Rabindranath Tagore turned back his knighthood 
with one of the most cutting letters that a King of Eng- 
land must ever have received Gandhi proclaimed a 
hartal, or strike, for August 1 to inaugurate a definite 
noncooperation campaign He took careful count of de- 
tails “Complete order through complete organization” 
was his slogan Instruction sheets were issued to all 
patriots which warned that experienced group leaders 
must be used, flag and whistle signaling be understood, 
patriotic slogans and songs used at certain times, and 
streets and* stations kept clear Noncooperation in- 
cluded repudiation of titles of honor, resignation of 
office, nonsubscription of government loans, substitution 
of private arbitration for official law courts, a suspen- 
sion of their profession by lawyers, boycott of the 
schools, and peaceful agitation for swara] 

The further step which Gandhi called “mass civil dis- 
obedience,” and which would involve refusal to pay 
taxes, with mass violation of all orders not involving 
moral principle, was to be taken as soon as the people 
had been disciplined through this 

Gandhi dreaded mobs; he would have preferred war 

[ 439 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


to unorganized violence His motives were primarily 
moral, the political ones following as a consequence 
His philosophy was first that India should through these 
campaigns be disciplined for her own good The over- 
coming of British tyianny would follow automatically, 
but of more importance to him than the thi owing off of 
despotism was the saving of the soul of India 
At the same time he was condemning the British 
government, Gandhi made a gallant appeal to the Eng- 
lish people He affirmed his faith in British braveiy 
and sense of fair play, and asked the British people 
to make up for the perfidy of then government which 
had completely shattered the faith of its Indian 
subjects “Bravery on the battle-field is impossible for 
India, but bravery of the soul remains open to us Non- 
cooperation means nothing less than tiaining in self- 
sacrifice I expect to conquer you by my suffeiing ” 
Considering with perhaps an even greatei 'discernment 
than our other makers of modern Asia the full implica- 
tions of nationalism, Gandhi instituted a cult of the 
spinning wheel and the wearing of khadi {khaddar), or 
homespun cloth It had both practical and symbolic 
value No foreign machine industry had taken more 
wealth out of India or injured home industry more than 
the textile industry of England Calico was named 
after the Indian aty Calicut, and Europe at one time 
got many of its finest textiles from India Now India 
was raising the cotton, selling it cheaply to England 
to be made up, and buying back the machine-made 

[ 440 ] 



MAHATMA GANDHI 

product It seemed impossible for the peasant to main- 
tain a decent standard of living through agriculture 
alone (indeed, this is increasingly a problem m 
America) Gandhi saw a combination of home industry 
with agriculture as the only hope for economic rehabili- 
tation short of establishment of great industrial centers 
and the moving of the population to cities — ^the solution 
taken by Japan but opposed by Gandhi as ruinous to 
the native culture Spiritually he believed that indus- 
trial work was necessary to the soul’s health, and saw 
an opportunity to put all classes of his people at the 
exercise of spinning 

Socially a universal interest in spinning would break 
down caste barriers Even the Brahman must spin the 
sacred cord which never leaves his neck and it is the 
only form of manual labor against which no caste can 
hold prejudice Gandhi’s spinning campaign comprised 
all the elements of the ‘dove country cloth” put out in 
China following the student revolution of 1919 , but it 
went much further than that There was method in 
Gandhi’s madness of the spmmng wheel 

The true reformer seems to be happiest when he has 
taken on the most causes In the midst of the political 
crisis the Mahatma led a campaign against drink and 
wine shops, and against opium dens Even tea houses 
and betel nut chewing were included in his ban India 
IS naturally a prohibition country, wine being against 
the rehgious precepts of both Hindus and Muslems, 
nevertheless there was a government-licensed wine busi- 

[ 441 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


ness The Indian people took so vigorously to the sup- 
pression of liquors that Gandhi had to inteifere to keep 
them from destioymg the shops by mob action “You 
must not try to compel another by physical force to 
become good,” he told them — a statement of considei- 
able interest to piohibitiomsts and then opponents in 
America, as well as his doctiine that it is right and 
dutiful to disobey an unjust law “ 

Under such conditions, the new Montagu-Chelms- 
ford constitutional experiment, popularly called the 
“dyarchy,” went into effect A voting constituency of 
7 per cent of the population was to elect provincial 
legislatures and a national assembly, on a “balance sys- 
tem” specially protecting the Muhammadan minority 
These representative bodies would ratify appointments 
of and provide budgets for ministers of education, sani- 
tation, etc , while the raj kept control of finance, jus- 
tice, and the military “Noncoopeiation*’ of course 
Ignored the system entirely, Gandhi pionouncing any 
paiticipation in the sinful British administration “con- 
tamination ” The raj “saved face” by patronizing a 
very small constituency of Englishmen, Anglo-Indians, 
and Indian Libeials who were willing to profit by being 
the sole electorate and office-holding gioup 
In December, 1920, Gandhi was able to peisuade the 
Indian National Congress, meeting at Nagpur, to incor- 

once asked the Mahatma m a light moment how this would apply 
to the situation in America He uph d “Ii \ou con'jCieiiHoii‘'l> bUieve 
that deprivation of alcohol is destructnc to md Mdual, “jot'otv and culture 
it would seem to me that you should disobey the prohibition law ” 

[442 ] 



MAHATMA GANDHI 

porate his nonviolent, noncooperation policy in its 
very constitution The Congress also constitutionally 
adopted representative election of delegates, with boy- 
cott and ostracism of native magistrates not living up 
to the program Begun as an informal and unofficial 
body gathering somewhere in India in December of 
each year, the National Congress was now a state within 
a state, something like the Philippine National Inde- 
pendence Committee between 1922 and 1925 

The pot was boiling for a spill-over Various agra- 
nan uprisings took place In February of 1921, the 
puritanical Akali Sikhs adopted Gandhi’s method to 
gam control of Gurdwara Temple at Nakana Sahib 
Two hundred unarmed resisters were voluntarily 
marched to a cruel death at the hands of Pathan temple 
guards, giving a thrill of martyrdom to the nation The 
government, previously merely annoyed at what it be- 
lieved would be a “five-minute enthusiasm” or a samt’s 
vision, was at last thoroughly alarmed In March it 
definitely declared the Congress and affiliated organiza- 
tions to be seditious Curiously enough this decisive 
step took place over the issue of government protection 
of wine shops “It was not the first time for European 
civilization and alcohol to march hand in hand,” re- 
marks Romain Rolland Thousands were arrested and 
penned, many were more brutally treated Clashes 
with constables took place all over the land Gandhi 
fasted and prayed and persuaded, to keep down the 
violence 


1443 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


The next National Congress wanted to adopt the 
final step of mass civil disobedience Gandhi prevented 
for the time He launched a fervid unity campaign 
between the Parsis — ^who, he said, were “tainted with 
the spirit of Rockefeller” — Hindus, and Musselmans. 
Using the exultation of the crisis, he went further and 
asked Congress to declare that outcasts might enter 
schools and use public wells Many suppoited him, in- 
cluding Brahmans, but others were offended 

Women came forward as the sex had never before 
done m India Many distinguished women such as the 
poetess Sarojini Naidu underwent arrest and suffering 
for the cause Gandhi declared yet more openly for 
liberation and equality 

His four sons, now grown, took active part in his 
movement, including the eldest, who, despite his father’s 
disapproval, was in law Two of his sons were impris- 
oned at hard labor for short terms “How can you 
remain dry-eyed,” asked the women who came to sym- 
pathize with Kasturbai when they were sentenced “I 
have only two sons in prison,” replied the graying 
woman who seemed to grow more straight and precise 
with the years “I’ve no right to weep when thousands 
of India’s sons are there ” 

By August, 1921, Gandhi, becoming more drastic, 
endorsed the burning of foreign manufactured goods in 
huge bonfires in the streets of Bombay. With religious 
enthusiasm the poor brought cotton and the rich, bro- 
cades and silks and cast them on the bonfire It was a 

[444] 



MAHATMA GANDHI 


reflection of what had swept over China two years pre- 
viously Men like Rabindranath Tagore and C F. 
Andrews protested Tagore, who knew much of the 
West, saw no evil in European material standards of 
living, and Andrews suggested that the destroyed goods 
might have been given to the poor Gandhi replied 
sturdily that it would be like offering jewels to a starv- 
ing man, and that “it would be wrong to give these 
poisonous goods that were destroying India to the poor, 
for they, too, have their sense of honor ” This was the 
true Oriental sense of personal dignity. Six hundred 
years before Christ, Confucius, moved by the same logic, 
said, “Many a man has starved of come-here~and-get-it 
food » 

Tagore, India’s second most famous citizen, had re- 
turned from protracted travels in Europe to be fright- 
ened by the mental domination of his old contemporary 
He took an oblique view of Gandhi’s movement which 
hitherto he had supported strongly “We need all the 
moral force which Mahatma Gandhi represents and he 
alone in the world can represent It is criminal to try 
to transfer moral force into physical force,” he said 
On his part Gandhi felt Tagore had been led into the 
fallacy of the West and had deliberately overlooked the 
spiritual basis upon which he was conducting his politi- 
cal and social relations 

The controversy between the poet, interested in the 
beauty or tragedy of the world as it is, and the social 
reformer, interested in a future state existmg only in his 

[445 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


mmd, was inevitable It has a most staking paiallel 
m the controversy between Lenin and Goiky Gandhi’s 
answer to Tagore brought out the spirit of its author as 
strikingly as Lenin’s letort to Gorky on his promontory 
in Italy that “it is a time for crushing of skulls ” Said 
Gandhi 

I do not want my house to be walled m on all sides and 
my windows to be stuffed I want the culture of all lands to 
be blown about my house as fieely as possible But I 
refuse to be blown off my feet by any of them Mine is 

not a religion of the prison house It has room foi the least 
among God’s creations But it is proof against insolent pride 
of race, religion, or color 

We must not surrender our leason into anybody’s keeping 
Blind surrender to love is often more mischievous than forced 
surrender to the lash of the tyrant There is hope for the 
slave of the brute, none for the slave of love 

When all about me aie dying foi want of food, the only 
occupation permissible for me is to feed the hungiy India 
IS a house on fire It is dying of hunger because it has no 
woik to buy food with Khulna is starving The Ceded 
Districts aie passing successively through a fourth famine 
Orissa is a land suffering from chronic famine India is grow- 
ing daily poorei The ciiculation about her feet and legs has 
almost stopped And if we do not take care, she will collapse 
altogether 

To a people famishing and idle the only acceptable form in 
which God can dare appear is work and promise of food as 
wages God created man to woik for his food and said that 
those who ate without work were thieves We must think of 
the millions who to-day are less than animals, almost in a 
dying state Hunger is the argument that is drawing India to 
the spinning wheel 

The poet lives for the morrow, and would have us do like- 

[ 446 ] 



MAHATMA GANDHI 


wise He presents to our admiring gaze the beautiful picture 
of the birds in the early morning singing hymns of praise 
as they soar into the sky Those birds had their day’s food 
and soared with rested wings in whose veins new blood had 
flowed the previous night But I have had the pain of watching 
buds who for want of strength could not be coaxed even into 
a flutter of their wings The human bird under the Indian 
sky gets up weaker than when he pretended to retire For 
millions it is an eternal vigil or an eternal trance I have 
found it impossible to soothe suffering patients with a song 
fiom Kabir 

Give them work that they may eat' “Why should I who 
have no need to work for food, spin?” may be the question 
asked Because I am eating what does not belong to me 
I am living on the spoliation of my countrymen Tiace the 
course of every com that finds its way into your pocket, and 
you will realize the truth of what I write Every one must 
spin Let Tagore spin, like the others Let him burn his 
foreign clothes , that is the duty to-day God will take care of 
the morrow As it says m the Gtta, Do right' 

In May,' 1921, twelve thousand coolies struck in the 
tea gardens of Assam The government imported 
Ghurkhas, the primitive traditional enemies of the Hills, 
to take their place Riots ensued and there was a rail- 
road strike in Bengal Feeling, as always, that any 
violence would rum his strategy, Gandhi conferred with 
the Viceroy, Lord Reading, on its prevention and also 
restramed the fiery and gifted Muhammadan leaders, 
the All brothers, from the extreme methods which they 
contemplated Yet feeling was coming to its climax. 
Although he sensed that his people were not yet dis- 
ciplined for it, Gandhi had to inaugurate his full pro- 

[447] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


gram or let it drop m favor of violence L’ke Kemal, 
he was compelled to take chances on undisciplined 
chiefs in a different type of warfare In July the Cali- 
phate Conference threatened to refuse mihtaiy service 
and proclaim a republic if the British attitude toward 
the Turkish nationalists weie not changed 

In an effort to veer public feeling, the British gov- 
ernment decided the Piince of Wales should visit India 
The patriots resolved upon noncooperation in his re- 
ception and boycott of all British goods In August a 
bloody outbreak of the fanatical Muslem Moplahs took 
place m Malabar against the Hindus The British 
tiled to pm the uprising on Gandhi He immediately 
went to quiet it 

Gandhi showed the greatest sensitiveness at the 
slighting of the Muslem cause When he heard the All 
brothers had been arrested, he called for noncoopeiation 
as a spiritual duty, proclaiming that men should serve 
such a government neither as civil functionaries nor as 
soldiers When the Alls were sentenced to two years’ 
imprisonment, Gandhi called for mass civil disobedience 
and the All-India Congress ratified the move at Delhi 
on November 4 All registers were to take up spinning 
and the vow of nonviolence They were then to refuse 
any longer to pay taxes On November 17 the Prince 
of Wales landed at Bombay amid prayer and fasting 
proclaimed by the Mahatma The populace were out 
with Gandhi, burning foreign cloth, but the rich mem- 
bers of the community, especially the Parsis, abandoned 

[448 ] 



MAHATMA GANDHI 


their haital m the pursuit of social distinction and 
rushed to welcome the Prince An enraged mob of 
twenty thousand lower-class members pillaged the 
homes of the wealthy “traitors,” beating men, mistreat- 
ing women, killing about fifty 

The “defection” wounded Gandhi “like an arrow m 
his heart ” He rushed to the scene of violence, and 
was sick with humiliation when the naive crowd cheered 
him, thinking he had come to lead them in their retribu- 
tion for the sake of his country Gandhi mounted a 
cart before the mob, fearlessly denounced it, and jus- 
tified the Parsis Immediately he suspended the order 
for mass civil disobedience and imposed a twenty-four- 
hour fast each week on himself as penance for the sms of 
his people 

However, the hartal worked silently well through the 
remainder of the country On Christmas Eve of 1921 
in Calcutta' the Prince of Wales passed through a city 
which might have beep dead 

The National Congress met at Gandhi’s city Ahme- 
dabad and urged all Indians publicly to enroll as re- 
sisters and prepare for arrest against the prospect that 
delegates and committee would be incarcerated at any 
time Gandhi was elected dictator with power to ap- 
point a successor “Violence if necessary” was with 
Gandhi’s resistance voted down The British responded 
by outlawing the Congress and the Cahphate orgamza- 
tion and jailing twenty-five thousand men and women 
With Kemal or Lemn it would have been tune to 

[449] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


risk everything on extreme action Gandhi’s woid could 
have thrown the entire nation into active revolution 
There was assurance that the native troops, especially 
the Sikhs, awaited his command to insurrect He 
had the power of political dictator, saint, and to the 
humble people, God 

But he lacked the egotism of the fanatic and he 
would not appropriate God or claim visions He was 
truer to the principles upon which he had started than 
to the opportunity Then, too, he possessed what might 
be regarded as a sort of superhuman balance “The 
British want us to put the struggle on the plane of 
machine guns,” he said “They have these weapons and 
we have not Our only assurance of beating them is 
to keep it on the plane wheie we have the weapons and 
they have not ” 

So Gandhi issued his “declaration of war” to the 
Viceroy on that plane The date of his opeft letter was 
February 9, 1922 It gave Lord Reading seven days 
to change the government’s policy 

The letter had scarcely been delivered when an out- 
rage took place at Chaun-Chaura in the distiict of 
Gorakror, which allowed the British to throw the stigma 
of “atrocity” back upon the Indians Twenty-seven 
police who interfered with a nationalist procession were 
chased into then barracks and burned to death in them 
They were not Gandhi’s people, but as Rolland says, 
“He had really become the conscience of India ” Im- 
mediately, in spite of what he called “Satan’s forbid- 

[450] 



MAHATMA GANDHI 


ding/’ Gandhi retracted his ultimatum to the Viceroy 
and called off the campaign 

I know that the drastic reversal of practically the whole 
of the aggressive campaign may be politically unsound and 
unwise, but there is no doubt that it is religiously sound 
The country will have gained by my humiliation and con- 
fession of error The only virtue I want to claim is truth and 
nonviolence, for confession of error is like a broom which 
sweeps away dirt and leaves the surface cleaner and brighter 
I feel stronger for my confession Never has a man reached 
his destination by persistence in deviation from the straight 
path Just as the addition of a grain of arsenic to a pot of 
milk renders it unfit as food, so will the servility of the rest 
prove unacceptable by the addition of the deadly poison from 
Chauri-Chaura the bitterest hunnliation was still to come 
God spoke clearly through Chauri-Chaura Nonviolent hon- 
cooperators can only succeed when they succeed in attaining 
control over the hooligans of India 

I must undergo personal cleansing I must become a fitter 
instrument able to register the slightest vaiiation in the moral 
atmosphere about me My prayers must have deeper truth 
and humility For me there is nothmg so cleansing as a fast 
A fast undertaken for fuller self-expression, for attainment of 
the spirit’s supremacy over the flesh, is a most powerful factor 
m one’s evolution 

He imposed upon himself a five-day fast as penance. 
In a further statement he said 

There is so much undercurrent of violence, both conscious 
and unconscious, that I was actually and literally praying for 
a disastrous defeat I have always been m a minority In 
South Africa I started with practical unanimity, reached a 
minority of sixty-four and even sixteen, and went up again to 

[ 451 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


a huge majority The best and the most solid woik was 
done m the wilderness of minouty I know that the only 
thing that the government dieads is this huge majority I seem 
to command They little know that I diead it even moie 
than they I have become literally sick of the adoiation of 
the unthinking multitude I would feel ceitain of my giound 
if I was spat upon by them A fiiend warned me against 
exploiting my “dictatorship ” I have begun to wonder if I 
am not unconsciously allowing myself to be “exploited ” I 
confess that I have a dread of it as I nevei had before My 
only safety lies in my shamelessness I have warned my 
friends of the committee that I am incorrigible I shall con- 
tinue to confess blunders each time the people commit them 
The only tyrant I accept in this woild is the “still small voice” 
within And even though I have to face the prospect of a 
minority of one, I humbly believe I have the courage to be m 
such a hopeless minority That to me is the only truthful 
position But I am a sadder and, I hope, a wiser man to-day 
I see that our nonviolence is skin-deep We are burning with 
indignation The government is feeding it by its insensate 
acts It seems almost as if the government wants to see this 
land covered with murder, arson, and rapine in. ordei to be 
able once moie to claim exclusive ability to put them down 

For the first time, perhaps, talk like that of an old- 
fashioned “testimony meeting” was heard in high politi- 
cal discussions Like Lenin, Gandhi had no fear of 
being in a minority, but in how different a spirit' He 
could not loose fury like Lenin “We use violence to 
the end that violence may cease,” said the founder of 
New Russia, but Gandhi stuck to the dictum of Christ 
“They that take the sword shall perish with the sword ” 

These two drastically opposite viewpoints which have 
puzzled the intellects of mankind for centuries and he 

[452 1 



MAHATMA GANDHI 

behind all the argument over disarmament and perfect 
peace to-day, are being worked out for the eyes of this 
generation in two of the world’s most populous nations 
on the largest scale in history The patriots of India, 
who did not live on Gandhi’s high spiritual plane, suf- 
fered intense disappointment They did not repudiate 
him there nor at the next conference, but they did give 
him the feeling that they were looking elsewhere 

Gandhi had been under threat of arrest since 1920 
All his affairs had been m order and he had printed 
instructions to his followers entitled “If I am Arrested ” 
In this he told them that any violence of resentment 
would be to him a disgrace and a repudiation 

The Indian government, as the South African, had 
long debated the question of Gandhi’s arrest The 
Mahatma’s influence had been needed to keep down 
violence, and it had not been considered wise to make 
a martyr ’ Now, taking advantage of his shadowed 
popularity and the general puzzlement, the advocate 
general of Bombay, Mr Strangland, proceeded against 
him Gandhi precipitated the government’s move by 
strong reply to a telegram from the Birkenhead-Mon- 
tague administration which to Indians was the acme of 
insult In his paper he wrote 

How can there be any compromise whilst the British hon 
continues to shake his gory claws m our faces? The British 
Empire, which is based upon organized exploitation of physi- 
cally weaker races and upon a continuous exhibition of brute 
force, cannot live if there is a just God rulmg the universe 

[453 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


It IS high time that the Biitish people were made to 
realize that the fight that was commenced in 1920 is a fight 
to the finish, whether it lasts one month 01 one year 01 many 
months or many yeais I shall only hope and pi ay that God 
will give India sufficient humility and sufficient stiength to 
remain nonviolent to the end Submission to the insolent chal- 
lenges that are cabled is now an uttei impossibility 

At the Sabarmati ashram he waited seizure He 
even stated that he longed for imprisonment as a rest 
from his years of turmoil And he wanted it as penance 
for the lapse of his people into violence Squatting 
with his disciples on the sandbar m the Gujrati River, 
the Mahatma led his usual sundown worship, chanting 
to the two-toned strumming of the huge viol played 
by his giant musician, his depaiting hymn 

He IS a real woishippei of Vishnu, who feels the suffering 
of others as his own suffeiipg He is evet leady to serve, 
and IS nevei guilty of ovei weening pride He bows before 
every one, despises none, preserves purity in thought, word, and 
deed Blessed is the mother of such a son in every woman 
he reveres his mother He pieseives equanimity and nevei 
stains his mouth with falsehood, nor touches the riches of 
another The bonds of desire cannot hold him Ever in 
harmony with leverent feeling foi the sacied worship, his 
body in itself possesses all the places of pilgrimage He 
knows neither desire noi disappointment, neither passion nor 
wrath 

With his young editor, Banker, he was taken to the 
drab red-brick jail within sight of the ashram Kas- 
turbai and the disciples followed him to the gate, kissing 

[4S4] 



MAHATMA GANDHI 


his feet, but he spoke reassuringly to them and went 
behind the bars silently “In the evenings the public as- 
sembled in large numbers at the Sabarmati Prison to 
do homage to their beloved leader, the masses stood 
before the prison as before a temple When the bell 
rang to announce the hour of admission the sound was 
received with thrills of joy Then the crowd of pilgrims 
approached their revered Mahatma, some threw them- 
selves at his feet, others touched him with awe, others 
again showed their lespect only by profound salaams 
Mothers laid their infants in his arms and old women 
touched the ground before him to show their devotion ” 
When he entered the court room of Distnct Judge 
Broomfield of Ahmedabad, on March 18, 1922, the 
entire court stood m respect to the unusual prisoner 
He plead gmlty on every count and the judge wished to 
sentence him without the distress of further proceedings, 
but the pursmng, crude-speaking crown’s advocate, 
Lloyd, insisted upon attack and rebuttal In perfect 
equanimity, covered only by his loin doth, Gandhi 
faced the bar and confessed considerably more than he 
was accused of He took full responsibility for all the 
violence of his people and proceeded to an expose of 
the amazing policy of perfidy which had turned him 
from staunch loyalist into an implacable enemy of 
British rule He then told the j’udge he must either 
resign, dissociatmg himself from a law that was evil, or, 
upholding that law, pronounce a maximum penalty. 
The judge commented on the prisoner’s “noble and 

1455 1 



EMINENT ASIANS 


even saintly life ” He asked Gandhi to name his own 
punishment, suggesting that his forerunner Tilak’s sen- 
tence had been six years Gandhi expressed delight 
that he might suffer the same penalty “I cannot 
refrain from saying,” remaiked the judge, “that you 
belong to a different category from any person I have 
ever tried or am likely to have to try ” 

Young Banker made the same humble yet accusing 
confession as his master The prosecutor declared that 
the Mahatma must be buried alive m prison and no one 
allowed access to him, or his cell would soon become a 
Mecca for the whole world 
Gandhi and Banker were sent off to Yerawada prison 
of none too savory reputation Gandhi’s letters from 
piison revealed the art of living to which he had at- 
tained, both physically and spiritually He wrote C F 
Andrews 


My Dear Charley 

I would not expect to see you m jail — to be allowed a 
visitor is a privilege and a civil resister (who has severed rela- 
tions with authority) may neither seek nor receive a privilege 

With love, 


Mohan 


On April 14, 1922, he writes an Indian friend 

Prisoners are allowed to have a visit once a quarter and 
to write and receive one letter This one I am going to write 
to you Banker and I were brought to the prison (Sabarmati) 
on the i8th of March Monday we were informed we were 
to be moved to an unknown destination The police escorted 

[456] 



MAHATMA GANDHI 


us to a special tram The deputy police superintendent was 
instructed that I have goat’s milk and Banker cow’s milk on 
the journey [The Hindu’s religious scruples m eating were 
respected m Gandhi’s case but not m that of his disciple, 
which caused the Mahatma more distress than if the dis- 
courtesy had been done to himself ] From Khirki a police 
van brought us to the prison I had previously said to 
Banker that I would refuse food if they tried to forbid me 
to spin, for I had taken a vow to spin at least half an hour 
a day I told him he was not to get excited if I had to adopt 
a hunger strike, and he was not to follow my example out 
of a mistaken feeling of solidarity The director announced 
that as we entered the prison we must leave oui spinning wheel 
and basket of fiuit At Sabarmati we had been allowed to 
sleep m the open air but here we could not hope for this 
favor either Our first impression was thus rather unfavorable 
I did not let this trouble me and moreover the fact that I 
had practically fasted for the last two days prevented me 
from being affected Banker felt everything so much more 
He IS afflicted with nightmares and so does not like to be alone 
at night, besides this was the first painful experience of his 
life, whereas I was accustomed to the cage Next morning 
the director appeared to ask how we were I saw that my 
judgment of him, formed on first impression, had been a mis- 
take, in any case he had been in a flurry on the night before 
He gave the order that we were both to be allowed to have 
our spinnmg wheels again, also he no longer held out against 
the special food we asked 

The first days are of no account, relations are as cordial 
as possible between the prisoner and his warders I see quite 
clearly however, that our prison system is almost devoid of 
humanity The prison committee consists of the adminis- 
trator, a clergjnnan and some others I pointed out to them 
that Banker suffered from nervousness and for that reason 
should sleep in my cell I cannot conceal the contempt and 
unfeeling indifference with which this request was treated 

[ 457 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


What do they know of Banker and his position in life and 
the education he has enjoyed? An hour after this conversa- 
tion a warder informed that Banker was to be tiansfeiied to 
another section I felt like a mothei who has been robbed of 
hei only child , I had lead to him from the Gita and he had 
looked aftei my feeble body Banker had lost his mothei 
only a few months before She said that death would not 
be hard foi her now that she knew hei son was under my 
protection The noble woman did not know how powerless 
I was to prove Since then he has leceived pei mission to come 
to me foi half an hour every day to teach me caiding m 
the presence of the waider who has to see that we speak of 
matters only necessary to our occupation I had to use all 
my ingenuity to get the privilege to keep seven books five 
purely religious, an old dictionary, and an Uidu language 
manual The use of a pocket knife presents another problem 
I gave the superintendent the privilege of depriving me of 
bread and lemons or letting me have the knife to cut them 
with After a great deal of fuss my own pen-knife was placed 
m the keeping of the warder and only handed to me when 
actually needed A convict wardei who was sentenced for 
murder has to watch me dining the day, at night he is given 
an assistant Both are very harmless fellows, they do not 
molest me m any way One of my fellow piisoners m the 
same section is, I surmise, an Arabic state prisoner A tri- 
angular space within the central block was formally divided 
by a chalk line I was forbidden to cross , thus I had a space 
of about seventy feet long for my exercise When an inspec- 
tion official was here recently, I drew his attention to this 
white line as a proof of the lack of human feeling m the 
orders of the prison administration, with the result that the 
whole triangle was made free to me 
I am in solitary confinement and may not speak to any 
one Some of the great reformers are in the same jail with 
me I do not see any of them, though I do not see how ray 
society could do them any harm , they again could not harm 

[ 458 ] 



MAH\TM^ GANDHI 

me Should we conspire for escape we should only be doing 
the government the greatest favor If it is a question of 
protecting them from infection of my dangerous ideas, the 
isolation has come too late They are already thoroughly in- 
fected There is only one more thing I could do, make them 
still more enthusiastic about the spinning wheel What I said 
about my isolation is not intended as a complaint I feel 
happy, my nature likes loneliness, I love quietness, and now 
I have an opportunity of engaging in studies that I had to 
neglect in the outside world, but not all the prisoners enjoy 
solitary confinement It is as inhuman as it is unnecessary 
The director merely does his best to be just to their bodies 
and neglects their souls, hence it comes that prisons are 
abused for political end and therefore the political prison is 
not free from persecution, even within their walls 
I end with a description of the course of my day My 
cell IS, in itself decent, clean and airy The permission to 
sleep in the open air is a great blessing to me who am accus- 
tomed to sleeping in the open I rise at four o’clock to pray 
I am not allowed a light, but as soon as it is light enough 
for reading I stait work At seven o’clock in the evening 
when it IS too dark to read, I finish my day’s work At 
eight o’clock I betake myself to rest after the usual ashram 
prayer My studies include the Koran [he was trying hard 
to find contact with the better side of Muhammadanism] , the 
Ramayama, books about Christianity, exercises in the Urdu 
language, and much else I spend six hours in these literary 
efforts, four hours I devote to hand spinning To begin with 
I had only a little cotton at my disposal, but now the adminis- 
tration has given me sufficient — ^very dirty to be sure — ^perhaps 
very good practice for a beginner in carding Please say to 
Moulana Abdul that I count on his keeping pace with me 
in progress in spuming His good example will cause many 
to make a duty of this important work You may tell the 
people at the ashram that I have written the promised primer 
and will send it to them if I am allowed I hope it will be 

[ 459 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


possible for me to write the contemplated leligious primer and 
also the history of our fight in South Africa 
In ordei to divide the day better I take only two meals 
instead of thiee For the last three days, the superintendent 
has let me have goat’s milk and butter Besides two new 
waim blankets, a cocoa mat and two sheets have been given 
me, and a pillow has also ai rived since I could leally do 
without it Up till now I have used my books oi my spaie 
clothes as a pillow There is also a bathroom with a lock 
available which I am allowed to use every day The sanitary 
arrangements have been improved 
So my friends may not be at all anxious about me I am 
happy as a bird, and I do not feel that I am accomplishing 
less here than outside the piison My stay here is a good 
school for me and my separation from my fellow workers 
should prove whether our movement is an evolving organism 
or merely the work of one individual and therefore transient 
I myself have no feais I am not eager to know what is hap- 
pening outside If my piayeis aie sincere and come from a 
faithful heart, they are moie useful — of this I am certain — 
than any fussy activity I am very anxious on the other 
hand about the health of our friend Das and have good reason 
to reproach his wife for not informing me how he was I hope 
that Motilalaji’s asthma is better 
Please try to convince my wife that it is better for her 
not to try to visit me Devandas made a scene when he was 
here The pioud and sensitive boy burst into tears to see 
me standing m the superintendent’s presence, and I had diffi- 
culty in calming him He should have realized that I am a 
prisoner and as such have no right to sit in the superin- 
tendent’s presence Of course, Rajagopalchar and Devandas 
should have been offered seats I do not think the superin- 
tendent IS accustomed to be present at meetings of this kind 
(he must be forgiven for not knowing the rules of courtesy), 
but I should not like the scene to be repeated on a visit from 
my wife, and even less that an exception should be made 

[ 460 ] 



MAHATMA GANDHI 

for me, and chairs offered I can keep my dignity even stand- 
ing, and we must have patience for a little until the English 
people have advanced enough to extend on every occasion and 
universally their lovable politeness with unforced coidiality 
to us Indians [This incident reveals the heart of Asiatic- 
Western mutual scorn ] I hope that Chotani Nian has dis- 
tributed the spinning wheels he has given among the poor 
Muhammadan women 

With loving greetings to all fellow workers 

Descnbing this prison life later, he said, “I used to 
sit down to my books with the delight of a young man 
of twenty-foui and forget my four and fifty years and 
my poor health ” 

Gandhi was soon busy at his old occupation of fight- 
ing inequality by personal suffering, even in prison 
On May 1, 1923, he writes the governor of the prison 

You were good enough to show me the order to the effect 
that certain prisoners will be assigned to a special section, 
and inform that I was one of the number Some of the pris- 
oners condemned to hard labor as Messers K , J , and B are 
not woise criminals than I, besides they had probably a much 
higher position than I, and in any case they were accustomed 
to a more comfortable life than I have led for years So 
long as such prisoners are not also assigned to a special group 
it IS impossible for me, however much I might like it, to 
avail myself of special prison orders I would therefore be 
very grateful if you would strike my name off the list of the 
special section 

Yours obediently, 

By November of that year a new governor had taken 
charge and confijiement was darker for the saint He 
writes. 


[ 461 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


At the time that you informed ray comrade, Mi Abdul 
Gam, that the prison lules did not allow you to grant him 
food which cost more than the official lation, I diew your 
attention to the fact that youi predecessor permitted all my 
comrades as well as myself to aiiange our own diet I furthei 
informed you that it was very unpleasant for me to enjoy 
a favor denied to Mr Abdul Gam, and that for this reason 
my diet must also be lestiicted to what is in accordance 
with the rules and what is allowed to Mi Abdul Gam You 
were good enough to ask me to accept the old rations for the 
time being, and to say that the whole question would be dis- 
cussed with the general inspector, who was shortly to visit the 
prison I have now waited ten days If I am to keep a good 
conscience I cannot wait any longer, for I have nothing at 
all to discuss with the general inspector I have no reason 
to complain to him of the decision you took m the case of 
Abdul Gam I willingly recognize that you are powerless, 
even if you were inclined to help my comrade Nor is it my 
aim to work for a change in the food regulations of the prison 
I desire one thing only, to protect myself against any prefer- 
ential tieatment 

I therefore ask you from next Wednesday to, give me no 
more oranges and grapes In spite of this my food will still 
be more expensive than the official ration I do not know if 
I need four pounds of goat’s milk, but so long as you refuse 
to reduce my food so that its cost is in accordance with the 
rules, I must, although reluctantly, accept the four pounds 
of milk 

I do not need to assure you that there is no question of 
dissension It is only for the sake of my own inner peace 
that I propose that you should restrict my diet, and I beg 
for your understanding and approval 

Yours obediently, 

M K Gandhi, No 827 . 

But Gandhi’s six-year program of self-improvement 

[462 J 



MAHATMA GANDHI 


was interrupted by an illness to the death, which the 
prison physician diagnosed as appendicitis He was 
asked to submit himself to an operation to save his life 
The British wondered if they would have trouble with 
him in view of his writings, following the Tolstoyan 
view, that 

Medical science is the concentrated efforts of black magic 
Quackery is infinitely preferable to what passes for high 
medical skill We labor under the delusion that no disease 
can be cured without medicine , this has been responsible for 
more mischief to mankind than any other evil For a diseased 
man to take drugs and medicines would be as foolish as to 
cover up the filth that has accumulated on the inside of a 
house Hospitals are institutions for the propagation of sm 
They seduce many to pay less attention to the warnings of 
their body and to give themselves more and more to a life of 
vice I would urge students and professors to investigate the 
laws governing the health of the spirit and they will find that 
they will reveal startling results with reference to the cure 
of the body The man who lives in the proper spirit need never 
get ill, but because modern medical science entirely ignores 
this permanent spiritual element its activities are too restricted 
to achieve real and permanent success 

The Indian community watched Gandhi in this crisis 
and his followers looked to their Mahatjjja Guru to 
escape contradiction of himself He did so by sa3ang, 
“In prison I must accept the prison regime It involves 
medical supervision which now prescribes surgery, I 
submit ” Later when attacked by casuists who asked, 
“Why did you go to the hospital?” he replied, more 

[ 463 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


simply, “Because I wanted to live ” Some have made 
much of this, but Gandhi never claimed consistency 
Rather he claimed honesty and ability to learn and 
change with expeiience One who has perused the 
“ads” in any Indian newspapei and has gotten a 
glimpse into the growth of quackery there under the 
guise of Western medical science can understand the 
Mahatma’s position on medicine and his feeling that it 
was important enough to demand the production of his 
volume titled, reminiscent of Maiy Baker Eddy, Guide 
to Health A large proportion of this quackery is con- 
cerned with aphrodisiacs, and nostrums for escape and 
cure from venereal infection hence Gandhi’s feeling 
that hospitals have encouiaged sin Be it said to his 
credit that since his own experience at the hands of 
British surgeons, he has been less condemnatory of 
medical science and has turned to it for aid in his recent 
paralytic strokes 

The doctors said he would die if compelled to remain 
in the prison Consternation spread throughout the 
country Hindus sent consecrated ashes and holy water 
from the Ganges Muhammadans prayed to Allah for 
him, and Brahmans held intercessory services m their 
temples Tlark threats were heard among the lower 
classes Both Indian leadership and British policy had 
“gone moderate” since the Mahatma’s incarceration 
There was no need to set India afire again by permitting 
the death in a British jail of its human god On the 
recommendation of the judge who had sentenced him, 

[ 464 ] 



MAHATMA GANDHI 

Gandhi was released on February S, 1924, having served 
a few weeks less than two years 
A great impromptu feast of rejoicing was celebrated 
the length and breadth of the country The news was 
announced with music and processions and mass gather- 
ings in temples and mosques Members of age-hostile 
religions, castes, and races crowded through streets and 
bazaars arm in arm shouting that Gandhi had come 
from God to destroy evil Work and trade stopped in 
many places — even modern factories had to close down 
The nch and, in many cases, sovereign pnnces and 
municipal government gave great feasts for the pariahs, 
distributing food, money, and clothing 

Meanwhile the subject of ail this rejoicing was being 
assisted to his ashram incognito, announcing that he 
would remain in retirement He waited for the young 
political chiefs to come to him Chit Rangan Das and 
Motilal Nehru had turned Swaraj from a national 
movement mto a political party Under pressure of 
Muslems, whose more active nature chafed at complete 
noncooperation, these Hindu leaders had veered patri- 
otic sentiment to the idea of utilizing the new repre- 
sentative system to embarrass the government From 
absolute nonparticipation in the elections, ^y changed 
strategy to election of a majority of the legislators, who 
would then noncooperate from within — ^which they 
called “wrecking ” It was carrying noncooperation 
within the government’s own lines, but it substituted 
active obstructionism for dignified aloofness and in- 

[465 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


volved abandonment of the religious pi maple that the 
whole government, including its new lepiesentative 
machinery, was unholy The young leadeis had hoped 
that they would have the Mahatma with them Mu- 
hammad Ah had gone so far as to assure them m a 
special confeience that he had a telepathic message from 
Gandhi in prison authorizing the move 

In Bengal, a Swarajist victory at the election made 
Das majoiity leader m the legislature By refusing 
ratification of all ministerial appointments and voting 
down all budgets, the Swarajists completely nullified 
the dyarchy plan both in Bengal and in central prov- 
inces, and the British responded by suspending home 
rule in these provinces Nehru became the Swaraj 
whip in the National Assembly at Delhi whtere he 
united various sympathetic elements into what was 
termed the Nationalist Party, which, by stormy par- 
liamentaiy tactics, monotonously demanded full re- 
sponsible government 

The young leaders’ fiist conferences with Gandhi 
confirmed a lurking suspicion that Muhammad All’s 
message had been considerably garbled in transmission 
The rock-founded old saint, always as unmoved by 
opinions oiJbis followers as by those of his enemies, 
roundly condemned their abandonment of principle and 
the tinge of chicanery involved m “wrecking ” He 
granted their privilege to pursue their strategy but de- 
manded they separate themselves from the Congress 
The matter came to issue at the Congress control com- 

[ 466 ] 



MAHATMA GANDHI 

mittee meeting at Gandhi’s city m June, 1924 Dis- 
cussion showed that Swarajist participation m the eleC’ 
tive system had gone too far for a return to the original 
noncooperation, and after a threat to separate himself 
entirely from the Swarajist Party and form another 
Congress, Gandhi compromised on making the program 
of the Congress preeminently social-economic Men of 
activity primarily political were virtually barred from 
membership by a new qualification requiring the spin- 
ning of two thousand yards of yarn a month by each 
member 

There was to be staunch support of Hmdu-Muham- 
madan unity, equal rights for pariahs, and development 
of home industry symbolized by the spinning wheel In 
the following month Gandhi made his first public appeal 
since imprisonment in the founding of the All-Indian 
Spinners Association Surely, thought the world, the 
Mahatma Would have abandoned his most visionary 
enterprises such as the cult of the spinning wheel But 
practicality meant to him this, rather than “practical 
politics ” The charka, spinning wheel, was put on the 
National Congress flag By 1928 Gandhi was to be able 
to preside over an exhibition of khadt (hand-woven 
cloth) at Madras, ranging from floor covep»gs to em- 
broidery His spinners’ assoaation was to employ 7 50 
educated young men in its organization and operate 
166 production depots and 245 sales depots taking in 
a million and a quarter dollars a year without reckon- 
ing the dyeing, printing, and charka-making industries, 

[467 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


contributing to the income of eighty thousand homes 
Meanwhile Mrs Annie Besant’s National Home 
Rule League drafted a Commonwealth of India bill 
formulating a modified dominion status for India 
Swaraj participation m elections inevitably piogressed 
to participation m administration Motilal Nehru ac- 
cepted a seat on a government commission to plan 
an officers’ training school m India, and survived the 
storm of cnticism (Swarajists, opposed to violence on 
principle, nevertheless have steadily worked for an 
Indian “Sandhurst” as a means of “Indianizmg” the 
army m India ) National Congress supported a bill for 
the protection of the native steel industry But always, 
the reactionary British cml service was willing to spoil 
budding confidence and cooperation by an attempt to 
reintroduce the noxious suppression of civil rights which 
reminded of the Rowlatt Acts Some degree of justifica- 
tion always existed m the influence fiom Russia, seen in 
the activities of a small but smistei group, chiefly young 
Bengalis, who advocated violent i evolution In Oc- 
tober, 1924, the Viceroy Lord Reading promulgated a 
summary ordinance for Bengal Popular resentment 
forced the Mahatma to admit greater stress upon politi- 
cal activrt^is-seen m the modified ruling that the 
monthly two thousand yaids of yarn could henceforth 
be bought and donated if Congress members lacked 
time to turn them out with their own hands The 
Mahatma himself, however, the busiest man in India, 
never failed to turn m his stmt “Do you always spin 

1468 1 



MAHATMA GANDHI 

during interviews?” the writer once asked “Yes,” was 
the reply, kindly and yet not without a “bite” — “thus I 
can always feel that my time is not wasted regardless 
of to whom I must talk Besides, with my hands 
engaged so actively, is there not less temptation to use 
them on some vexing questioner?” In his whimsy was 
indicated the deep relation between manual industry 
and nonviolence in his philosophy of Swaraj 

Gandhi, Das, and Nehru issued a joint declaration 
against the resumption of tyrannical methods by the 
government, and the nationalist political aggregation in 
the Indian assembly was recognized as the All-India 
Congress delegation “at court ” At the following Con- 
gress meeting at Belgaum (December, 1924), Gandhi 
piesided — ^his first gieat public appearance since 1922 
Before the next Congress, the vigorous, incisive Das had 
suddenly died He has been sorely missed The fol- 
lowing Congress, the first one presided over by a woman 
— Sarojim Naidu, the fiery poetess — ^saw a fight between 
orthodox noncooperators and Nehru over office holding 
Gandhi remained aloof from this controversy His 
attitude was well known, but he busied himself with 
the fundamentals, tolerantly leavmg their application 
to the politicos And he was gathering stj;e»gth for the 
test year — the year of 1929 whose shadow was falling 
over the land 

In that year the ten-year trial arrangement of the 
dyarchy would be at an end The English Parliament 
would have to consider its workings and draft a system 

[469 1 



EMINENT ASIANS 


to succeed it The civil seivice, backed by the con- 
servative government in power in England, demanded 
an end of this compromising with native tiuculence — a 
return to the dignity of unquestioned British dominance 
India demanded the establishment of some legime which 
would grant the dignity of complete independence to 
home rule Russia’s encouragement of every element 
movement that embarrassed the Biitish provided in- 
spiration to native agitatois, warning to British liberals, 
argument for yet sterner attitude to British tones The 
radicalism and luthlessness of the nationalist move- 
ment in China had weakened the confidence of British 
labor in its attitude of sympathy for colored races It 
was a dark shadow, and the British raj was stalling 
for time lather than taking steps to make it less omi- 
nous Spender remarked, “The whole method which 
keeps the date ‘1929’ hanging over India and makes 
’ it a fore-ordained year of crisis and agitation is bad, 
and the proper way out of it is to get the Indians 
themselves to work on the problems which must be 
solved before there can be any considerable further 
advance toward responsible government ” 

It was populai among the British and Anglicized 
community4jisay that “old man Gandhi was a remark- 
able fellow, but that he was a dead dog politically ” 
Or, that “he was finished physically and had gone home 
to die ” Since these elements control all the news 
services, “Gandhi’s finished, isn’t he?” became the 
phrase with which the matter was dismissed in the con- 

[470] 



MAHATMA GANDHI 

versation of the worldly wise of Europe and America 
The wish was father of the thought and some English- 
men were frank enough to confess it The journalist, 
J A Spender, describing an interview in 1925 says, 
“Garbed in a spreading loin cloth, he came in with a 
light step, almost running, a lithe and animated figure 
radiating cheerfulness and benevolence and sat cross- 
legged on the groimd behind a low desk covered with 
books and pamphlets The scene was the strangest 
mixture of the real and the impossible Shutting one’s 
eyes one could suppose one’s self listening to a highly 
polished English politician, opening them one saw an 
Indian Guru nearly naked, surrounded by his disciples 
who plainly regarded every work that fell from him 
as inspired ” Spender says his mind went back to a 
famous cartoon of the year 1896 picturing Mr Glad- 
stone holding a pen in his mouth, writing with another 
one, his e/es burning, every hair on his head on end, 
his desk strewn with papers, notes for speeches, ad- 
vice to leaders, etc , while underneath was the caption 
“Politically dead ” “There were cynics in England,” 
says Spender, “who challenged Mr Gladstone’s saint- 
hood, but no Indians who challenged the sainthood or 
political headship of Mahatma Gandjn-^ Spender 
tested the Mahatma’s relationship to the younger men 
who had taken active headship of the party by ques- 
tionmg their recent policies He found no opening for 
a knife edge Had they made mistakes? Possibly, but 
politics were bmlt up of mistake The pandit Motilal 

r 471 1 



EMINENT ASIANS 


Nehru, like his predecessor Das, was a very devoted 
and self-sacnficmg man He had given up great 
wealth, abandoned his motor cars, let his beautiful 
garden run to seed from pure zeal in the cause of 
India The actions of such a man had value which 
placed them above ordinary criticism If possibly he 
were wrong, he had earned the right of making his own 
mistakes It is easy to see the Mahatma’s hold even 
upon leaders whom he frankly opposes at principle’s 
demand 

A vital threat to both his political program and more 
fundamental spiritual movement faced the aging leader 
in the cooling zeal of the Muslem community and the 
general breakdown of Hmdu-Muhammadan unity It 
had begun with the fiasco of the Caliphate cause due 
to the suppression of the Sultan-Caliph, not by Great 
Britain and the Western Powers, but by the Turks 
themselves When the delegation of the Ifidian Cali- 
phate Conference was refused permission to enter 
Turkey by Mustapha Kemal, Indian Musselmans not 
only found themselves out of face before the world, but 
suddenly without the special motive which had driven 
them into the Mahatma’s nationalist fold The defec- 
tion from jjfeejaith in western Asia but made them the 
more sectarian The application of representative gov- 
ernment aroused in them deep fears for their safety as 
a minority of seventy million among two hundred and 
fifty million Hindus of various sects, which were stimu- 
lated by precautions on their behalf in the British gov- 

[472 1 



M/^HATMA GANDHI 

ernmental scheme C R Das had first struggled with 
the difficulty of providing them extra-proportional 
representation m Bengal In a majority only in the 
North, physically the more viiile but behind the Hindus 
in education and wealth, they saw repiesentative gov- 
ernment militating against them In spite of Gandhi’s 
work, community interest ranked with them above 
national interests They began to be distinctly afraid 
of Swaraj The older Muslem Conference replaced the 
defunct Caliphate Conference as community voice, and 
drafted more and more exaggerated guarantees as the 
price of adherence to the cause Muslem participation 
in the All-India Congresses grew more and more per- 
functory 

There was a revival of the sectarian spirit on the 
other side as well A militant Hindu organization, the 
Maha Subha, was organized to reconvert those popula- 
tions forcibly inducted into Islam but not yet converted 
at heart It aroused a rival in the Muslem missionary 
Tanztm movement Such activities among priests and 
scholars were immediately reflected in outrages by 
Ignorant votaries The first was the Moplah outbreak 
m which the aggressive tribe near Bombay fanatically 
attacked their fellow residents Bloody clashes occurred 
in widely separated parts of India, usually over play- 
ing of Hmdu processional music near mosques, slaying 
of sacred cows by Musselmans, or recrudescence of the 
rumor that Muslem Pathans (Afghans) were stealing 
Hmdu boys for sacrifice The British said that Gandhi’s 

r 473 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


doctrine of putting a spiritual allegiance above that of 
obedience to the state was responsible for the outbreak 
of religious strife In India “God and conscience,” said 
they, “may be above Csesar, but in India Csesai is one 
while God is worshiped in many forms whose adherents 
dwell in mutual tolerance only through Csesai ’s con- 
stiaint ” The Swarajists, including indeed many Mus- 
lems, maintained that the British secretly encouraged 
dissension The exodus of the entiie Hindu population 
fiom the town of Kohat following rumors of an im- 
pending jehad drove Gandhi to public action He did 
not blame the British “I blame no one,” he wrote “I 
blame myself alone I have lost the powei to make 
myself audible to the people, beaten and helpless I turn 
to God, who alone can hear me ” He went to the 
Delhi home of his old Muhammadan friend All, and 
on September 18, 1924, publicly began a fast to bring 
the communities to spiritual unity By the twenty- 
sixth, leaders of all sects of both religions had rushed 
to the All home and constitutmg themselves into re- 
ligious conference, issued the following proclamation 

The leaders here present are profoundly moved we im- 
power the president personally to communicate with Mahatma 
Gandhi the 'SbleKm resolution of all those taking part to pre- 
serve peace and to announce to him our unanimous desire that 
he should break his fast immediately so that he may be 
present at the meeting and favor it with his coopeiation, his 
advice, and his leadeiship He himself shall select the means 
to be used to check the spread of the existing evil as rapidly 
and effectively as possible 

[ 474 ] 



MAHATMA GANDHI 


The result was a compact attacking the problem m such 
practical ways as specific agreements on cow-killmg, 
music, calls to prayer, etc Spender remarked “Sup- 
posing it were announced in the newspapers that Mr 
Baldwin had declined his food when the miners had 
threatened to go on strike, or Lord Birkenhead was 
making trouble in the cabinet — ^we should have the near- 
est parallel I can think of Gandhi’s explanation 
of the spiritual effect was given in a purely matter of 
fact way as if the sequence of cause and effect were 
self-evident ” Indians of course believe in the mystical 
effect of the vicarious penance of a guru, and they were 
cut to their hearts that they had endangered, through 
his self-martyidom on behalf of their souls, the precious 
life of the Mahatma Gandhi goes at fasting in a sci- 
entific way, as he does at turning the other cheek His 
instructions to disciples on the hygienic precautions to 
be taken when fasting might come from Bernarr Mac- 
fadden Nevertheless, several of his recent illnesses 
have been the effects of his fasts for the purification 
of his people Fasting as practical politics sounds fan- 
tastic to the border of lunacy to Western ears When 
I point out that it accomplished more than the pohce 
force of all India, Westerners will say, pursmsg their lips, 
“clever after all ” Truth is, it is no more clever than 
the Cross of Christ To Gandhi it is obvious, sure, 
honest Mysticism is not mystical to the mystic But 
then the world produces thousands of Baldwins and 
only a few Gandhis. 


[475 1 



EMINENT ASIANS 


The South African situation had grown tense again 
A Color Bar bill, designed to bring back the disciimina- 
tions against which Gandhi had been promised would 
forever be dropped, was passed by the lowei legislative 
house General Smuts denounced it in words which 
might have come from his old opponent, the Mahatma 
himself, and which might well be the gospel for the 
dominant race at all its points of contact with other 
races in this age “Theie is only one guarantee for the 
security of white civilization m South Africa honest 
justice between man and man ” Foitunately the bill 
was defeated in the Senate In December of the next 
year another settlement was made between the Indian 
government and Premier Hertzog, which in sum pro- 
vided that Indians in South Africa were either to 
conform to the Western standard of living oi receive 
assistance to return to India Gandhi called it “an 
honorable compromise ” 

It was a spiritual victory dependent on the awak- 
ened sense of justice of the ruling group A greater 
victory of this same kind Gandhi first believed could 
be won in India, but experience has taught him that 
he had to rely upon force — 5o«<!Z-force — 'rather than 
appeal to ■conscience An American missionary, Mr 
Enoch, asked him why he was not more ready to enter a 
round table between Lord Reading and Indian leaders 
The Mahatma’s reply was one of the most significant 
statements that has come out of New Asia and one 
which is the key to many developments as far east- 

[ 476 ] 



MAHATMA GANDHI 

ward as China and Japan and as far westward as Egypt 
(and possibly the United States) “For twenty years 
I worked on the presumption that white men would 
deal fairly with colored people if the cause were pre- 
sented to them properly, but I have come to the opposite 
conclusion — that it is not m the nature of white men 
to deal fairly with colored races, and that they would 
never be satisfied to do so, and that here was a con- 
dition which nothing that could be done around a round 
table could change ” 

Lord Reading was replaced by Lord Irwin, whose 
first inaugural pronouncement was an appeal to end re- 
ligious noting — ^broken out afresh in spite of both the 
prestige of the Mahatma and the strong arm of the 
British police Considerable advance was made by the 
government in strengthening itself, through the unof- 
ficial and gorgeous chamber of princes at Delhi, with 
the native princes who still hold semi-sovereignty over 
one-third the area of India 

In the highly exciting Fall elections of 1926, the 
Swaraj Party, while losing rather seriously in the Punjab 
and United Provinces, swept the boards in Madras It 
came out with one-third of the membership in the Delhi 
National Assembly — ^very good in that to a^consider- 
able degree the membership there is “protected” rather 
than proportional The Swaraj Party began to call 
itself the Congress Party — indicative possibly of a nar- 
rowing of Congress influence as well as Swaraj assur- 
ance In any case certain confident British statements 

[477 1 



EMINENT ASIANS 


that the Swarajists were “done for” were completely- 
falsified “This IS my endoisement by my people,” 
said Mr Gandhi to the water, who was at his ashram 
as the returns came in “I will lead them foiward now, 
if necessary, to the use of the ultimate weapon mass 
civil disobedience ” 

Gandhi, in his fifty-eighth year, went out, and his 
lecture tour was abruptly ended by a stroke he suffered 
in a railroad tram between Bombay and home “Fin- 
ished now” said the worldly wise But the Mahatma’s 
faithful disciples took him back to the ashram, where 
he got in touch with his spiritual source of healing 
He attended the National Congress at Madras, in evi- 
dent vigor and radiant cheei fulness “Do you honestly 
believe that India would be happier if Britain got out 
altogether^” the Times of Ceylon asked him “Yes,” 
he replied, “I believe it is the only solution of India’s 
problems — and not only the problems of India, but also 
those of Africa There is no halfway house to that 
solution It would be better, I admit, if the British 
remained as friends at the mercy of India — and did 
penance for their misdeeds — and they would have to be 
at the mercy of India if they remained without the 
bayonet ■^vhich keeps them here now I admit, too, 
that there would be strife if they went, internecine 
trouble, probably much innocent blood would be shed, 
but India ultimately would find herself ” 

“Why not reach your goal by cooperation?” they 
suggested. 


[ 478 ] 



MAHATMA GANDHI 


“I am strongly against cooperation with any force 
that IS evil I realize that the individual, or the par- 
ticular administration, is not to blame I should not 
care whether the administration were British or, from 
viceroy to doorkeeper, Indians, if they represented a 
system which is evil ” 

“Is your National Congress so holy?” he was asked 
“Congress is not entirely good, but it does a ceitain 
amount of good and that is why I support it ” 
Attracted to a wider-than-Indian view by the progress 
of the nationalist movement. Congress in this session 
took its first cognizance of its relation to the general 
movement of the “snubbed” throughout larger Asia 
“The time has perhaps come,” said Chairman Srinivasa 
Aiyander, “for us seriously to think of a federation 
of the Asiatic peoples for their common welfare ” 
Aiyander followed this up by a motion immediately 
upon the opening of the Delhi Assembly, questioning 
the government over the dispatch of Indian troops to 
China The government disallowed the motion on the 
ground that it would embarrass conduct of foreign rela- 
tions Gandhi wrote about this time, “My mind goes 
to China I wish I could help Young China opposes 
any movement, action, or person interfering with 
Chinese self-expression Chinese, even Chnstians, have 
begun to distrust the Christian endeavor that has come 
from the West into their midst ” The Mahatma longed 
to preach victory over the domination of the West 
through nonviolence in China and greatly deplored 

14791 



EMINENT ASIANS 


the tendency to fight the West “with its own weapons” 
in that land “In casting off Western tyranny it is 
quite possible for such a nation to become enslaved to 
Western thought and methods,” he said “This second 
slavery is woise than the first ” For a time he thought 
of going to China at the invitation of Chinese student 
organizations It was as well perhaps that the rising 
tides of events m India prevented, for he would have 
suffered heartbreak woise than that suffered by Tagore 
at the pragmatic mentality of new China 
Although the Congress renewed the policy of non- 
cooperation in office, sufficient participation came to 
permit the restoration of the dyarchy representative 
government in Bengal and central provinces This was 
largely done through Muhammadan feeling Gandhi 
fasted, prayed, and worked, but the strife between the 
two great communities had continued The year end- 
ing April, 1927, showed forty riots and 197 persons 
killed The collapse of the Afghan dictator Amanullah 
Khan, whom Hindu Muhammadans had come to look 
to in spite of his imitation of Mustapha Kemal as the 
one remaining hero in Islam, threw them into inde- 
cision and uniest, and whisperings of perfidy became 
Gandhi’s'^reatest worry Contemporaneously with the 
December, 1928, Congress at Calcutta, the Indian Mus- 
lem League had met at Delhi ostensibly to formulate 
a policy for dominion government in which Musselmans 
and Hindus could meet They ended by declaring 
for enjoyment of Muslem majority position in the 

r 4801 



MAHATMA GANDHI 

provinces where they outnumber Hindus, representation 
m excess of their proportion where they are a minority, 
thirty-three representatives in the Delhi Assembly, and 
a selfish share of administrative jobs At the same 
time, however, Musselmans loyal to the Mahatma con- 
ducted a rival Muslem league at Calcutta, which sup- 
ported the Congress Belatedly taking action, Parlia- 
ment in the Fall of 1927 had authorized a commission 
under Sir John Symon to proceed to India, investigate 
and report on the working of the dyarchy, and draft 
a plan to succeed it All elements in India went into 
a passion of resentment when not a single Indian was 
appointed to the commission The liberal Swarajists 
and more radical groups refused all cooperation with 
it in supplying information or opmion Hartals, or 
prayerful boycotts, took place m Indian cities coin- 
cidently with the visits of the commission, and an at- 
tempt was made on the life of Sir John himself The 
British explanation of failure to include a single Indian 
in a body to draft a plan for the government of India 
was explained with the arguments that this was a com- 
mission representing the British Parliament and to 
gather information from the government viewpoint, and 
that its findings after completion would ^e submitted 
to Indian as well as other opinion Also that should 
the government appoint any Indian of either religion 
or any faction, all other groups would be outraged, 
and that to include a representative of each group would 
make a parhament or a mob — ^not a committee Indian 

r4811 



EMINENT ASIANS 


sentiment considered the fiist excuse lame, and the sec- 
ond further insult The commission returned to Eng- 
land in February and sallied forth once again in Novem- 
ber, 1928 This time it procured the assistance of a 
native committee constituted by the cential Assembly 
at Delhi after a fight in which the Swaia]ists nairowly 
lost It gave piomise of making a repoit by November, 
1929, in the face of the necessity of drafting a new 
government before the New Year’ By this time the 
various factions had ceased to look to the commission’s 
report for any fundamental change or real contribution 
toward solution, but had come to regard it, with appre- 
hension 01 exultation as the case might be, as a date- 
setter for momentous events 
The Calcutta Congress had drawn up a “dominion 
status constitution” and adopted two lesolutions in 
spired by Mahatma Gandhi The first lepicsents his 
compromise with the more radical younger element 
that if complete home rule on dominion status were 
not granted by December 31, 1929, the Mahatma would 
lead India in a revolution of full noncooperation and 
mass civil disobedience directed to complete independ- 
ence The second resolution embraced acceptance of 
his morS (o| social) program for the year of waiting, 
which the leader who relied so strongly on spiritual 
force considers an absolute prerequisite for his “spirit- 
ual” revolution Total abstinence from intoxicants and 
removal of caste untouchabihty are its two mam planks 
The venerable but still forceful Dr Annie Besant, who 

1482 1 



MAHATMA GANDHI 

had merged her “constitution,” which had gamed a 
reading on the floor of Parliament, in the Congress 
constitutional scheme, wanted an active political cam- 
paign outlined by the younger Motilal Nehru, and ex- 
pressed her disappointment by a somewhat disturbing 
personal attack on Gandhi He replied that, “It is by 
applying ourselves to necessary reforms in the social 
sphere that we acquire the power and momentum to 
carry through a great political movement ” The editor 
of the Swaraj Indian Social Reformer, whose weekly 
appears under the motto of William Lloyd Garrison, 
“I will be as harsh as truth and as uncompromismg 
as justice, I will not excuse, I will not retreat a single 
inch — and I will be heard,” remarks 

We aie glad to find first place allotted to total abstinence 
against the organized material resources of political power of 
Western materialism India can oppose to them nothing but 
the justice of* her cause and the unalcoholized brains and 
muscles of her people If the innate repugnance to drink of 
the Indian people breaks down, as it has been doing, it will 
not be long before the Hindus and Muhammadans of India 
go the way of the Maoris, the Red Indians and the Hotten- 
tots The removal of untouchability is equally urgent in 
order to rally the full forces of Indian nationalism in the 
cause of freedom 

The Mahatma showed his usual critical freedom and 
insistence on simplicity and smcerity by questioning 
the reahty of an independence demonstration to wel- 
come the Congress staged by volunteers in European- 
style uniforms In his mouthpiece Young India, he 

[483 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


wrote “If I had my way I should separate the delib- 
erate portion from the demonstrative and spectacular 
I should exclude visitors fiom the delibeiative section, 
at least by a stiong and elegant fence, holding meet- 
ings in the early morning hours and evenings undei 
the open heaven Youngei men found fault with his 
stress upon asceticism and poverty, which they said 
was apt to foster a morbid pessimism which would lessen 
activity, and they begged him not to come to appear to 
his people as “the gloomy sage of Sabarmati ” 

The Indian ruling princes, meeting in their chamber 
in Delhi, indicated fear of what the crisis might mean 
to them by resolving that no proposals would receive 
their assent which did not “proceed upon the initial 
basis of British connection ” These protected poten- 
tates, who lule one-fifth of India’s people and one-third 
of her territory, are regaided variously by the patriots 
according to whether they have democratic and social 
tendenaes, but likelihood of their survival with the 
British gone is hardly a question among the politicoes 
While the Congress passed its resolutions, peasants in 
Bardoli, Bombay Presidency, were conducting a des- 
perate campaign against tax-paying, and woikeis in the 
cotton ahd jjite mills of Bombay were striking In 
both efforts the nonviolent prmaples of Mahatma 
Gandhi were followed, and both brought semi-success 
in their objectives The peasants were well-nigh ruined 
by their victory, but contributions came from all over 
India toward their rehabilitation Then the workers 

[ 484 ] 



MAHATMA GANDHI 


of the Burma Shell Oil Company struck The manage- 
ment called m big Pathans from Afghanistan to break 
the strike Hatred expressed itself in an absurd rumor 
that Pathans were kidnaping Hindu boys for human 
sacrifice The result during the first two weeks of 
February, 1929, was 116 killed and 700 wounded, many 
houses burned, British military activities resembling 
war conditions in the streets, and small flare-ups in 
many cities It was to be noted that the Hindu Mussel- 
mans did not as a rule join their fellow-religionist 
Pathans in the strife 

Mahatma Gandhi, passing through Calcutta en route 
to Burma, gave the tense populace an orgamzed inter- 
est by inaugurating a campaign of foreign cloth-burning 
He was ariested on the evening of March 5 for con- 
ducting a demonstration in a public square, and was 
held in jail overnight The next morning he was re- 
leased on bond He promised the police commissioner 
that there would be no further public burnings, as these 
incited to violence, but called on all his people to con- 
tinue their 'private collecting and burning of cloth 
Subhas Bose, the Bengal leader, proclaimed that “the 
flame Gandhi had lit will not die out until it has de- 
stroyed the last vestige of foreign doth.in ttiis land ” 
Such a blow at Lancashire hits close to the political 
heart of England On the other hand, if not followed 
through persistently, it but increases England’s sales 
and India’s tribute Gandhi went on his way to Ran- 
goon to exhort the happier populace to Burma to beware 


EMINENT ASIANS 


against a British “divide and conquer” policy, and its 
lord mayor, m the piesence of the city coiporation and 
twenty thousand people, welcomed Gandhi as “one who 
had given lifelong devotion to the cause of social, moral, 
and spiritual improvement of humanity, often against 
tremendous odds, and whose ideals of seivice and sacri- 
fice served as a beacon light to guide the nations of 
the earth ” 

Gandhi, charactenstically replying, said his visit was 
solely for business Americans who read this dispatch 
possibly thought he meant private commeicial affairs 
But the Mahatma has no busmess other than that of 
“his Father” and his people What he really meant 
was a rebuke that the quiet, intense application to the 
“business” of preparing for a great “soul” ciisis was 
more m order than floweiy speeches and demonstrations 
of welcome 

To add to the tenseness of the year 192'9, the gov- 
ernment introduced into the Delhi Assembly a new bill 
recalling the Rowlatt Acts Nationalists fought it bit- 
terly, but a government-manipulated majority turned 
it over to a select committee for the government And 
then came reactionism in South Africa with Premier 
Hertzog ^wea^mg that the Color Bar bill would be 
forced through the next legislature There was no 
Smuts now to preach tolerance And “honorable com- 
promises,” and all the suffering behind them, would be 
swept aside by arrogance and pohtical opportunism 

As this crucial year wore on, punctuated by peasant 

r ,4 n n 



MAHATMA GANDHI 

and industrial strife, communist outbursts and fanatical 
clashes, the mummified figure of the Saint of Sabermati 
dominated its momentous possibilities One pictures 
him on the stone floor of his study writing the dialogue 
of which he is the modern master, for Young India, 
or engaging in the conversations that are almost debates 
with hyperbolic, sometimes mischievous wit, making no 
effort to be crj^tic but provoking his hearers with 
strange phrases which may suddenly assume profound 
meaning when called to mind the next day Or one 
sees him squatting on a bare platform erected high in 
the open air, ringed about by thousands of squatting 
Indians, the full-gowned Brahmans in front, bare- 
chested workmen in the middle, here and there a tur- 
baned Musselman with turned-up shoes, and row on 
row, off to the rear, the women in their unbleached 
khadi like dandelion puffs settled on the ground, lifting 
the pointed chin which almost touches his huge nose, 
and openmg his toothless mouth framed by the flaring 
ears to say in that deep, assured voice which penetrates 
to the bowing thousands “We will go on now, to the use 
of our ultimate weapon, mass cml disobedience Every 
regulation our rulers make save only those of moral 
connotation, ten thousand of us will break with fasting 
and prayer ” 

The program involves absolute refusal to pay reve- 
nues and unarmed mass movements for the occupancy 
of government houses I have asked a British civil 
servant what answer the government could have for 

1 4871 



EMINENT ASIANS 


this “Machine guns/’ he said succinctly One shud- 
ders at the possibilities There are still thousands of 
true Gandhists who will die cheerfully but will not pay 
And there are millions of otheis in India in whom the 
more primitive emotions will rule “Disti aught human 
nature could stand no more,” said Gandhi at the time 
of the Chauri-Chaura riots Martyis have a way, in 
this world, of inspiring crusades, and he who comes 
in peace of bringing the sword Behind the Afghan 
ranges looms the figure of Lenin, saying “Smash skulls 
Shed blood that bloodshed may cease ” 

Indecision, such as has preceded the white man’s 
most irretrievable mistakes and ruthless deeds in Asia, 
possessed the government The Symon Commission 
knew not whethei the lepoit would have to be given 
to a conservative or a new labor Parliament Political 
chiefs and officials were doubtful of their policies and 
fearful of their careers Englishmen, even liberals, 
took the challenge of the Indian Congress with Anglo- 
Saxon recoil A people not self-sustaining should re- 
ceive from their rulers, not tell their rulers what they 
would have — and to them the Indian people were not 
self-sustaining While Indian leaders claimed they 
were phmsing^ their program m Western constitutional 
language for unimaginative Westerners to understand, 
Englishmen accused them of being copyists from the 
West, phrasemongers not expressing the souls of their 
own people And Indians said, in the words used by 
the world’s greatest woman orator, Naidu, in New 

[488 ] 



MAHATMA GANDHI 

York “We ask for sympathy from no element in the 
West — ^we trust no element in England — ^not the most 
liberal element — For the simple reason that England’s 
laboi, Liberal or Tory, cannot afford to let India go ” 
S K Ratcliffe, veteran liberal, unconsciously gave 
basis for her opinion “Any change of status must con- 
sider the problems of the rulers as well as of the ruled 
King John’s feelings when he received the Magna 
Charta were not referred to This is the dark side of 
the picture The hopeful side is well told in Spender’s 
words 

Returning to India after fourteen years, I was most of all 
struck by the breaking down of the barriers between British 
and Indian, cantonment and city, which had seemed to be 
irremovable when I was there before Men of both races were 
working intimately with each other m science, art, educa- 
tion, philanthropy, and a large part of the administration 
services 

The views of the die-hard will be heard saying “Are we to 
hold the cow while they milk it — ^to give them the protec- 
tion and at the same time leave them free to govern or 

misgovern?” This foolishness, as it seems to the Gentiles, is 
at the heart of the British system all over the world, and by 
general acknowledgment the secret of its endurance 

Thus are the lines drawn for the Mahatlha’s next 
great battle, and since it is not likely to be short and 
the ascetic warrior is sixty years old, may he not feel 
that wish is any father to our thought that it may be 
his last Let us throw a few spotlights of his philosophy 
against his incisive, emaciated features, and leave him 

[4891 



EMINENT ASIANS 


to the future which is to us always a matter of months, 
and ominous, but which he views as evolving aeons, in 
perfect assurance 

Gandhi’s life development is clear and stiaightfor- 
ward Spender’s complaint that “No one could have 
been more friendly, but I boie away the impression of 
a mind working on a plane with which I could not estab- 
lish contact,” is as levealing of one side as the othei 
The combination of politician and saint is so unusual 
to our modern mind that M K Gandhi needs, neverthe- 
less, the most elaborate interpretation We could un- 
derstand Tilak better, who said that politics was no 
field for saints, but according to the Mahatma, politics 
separated from spirituality degenerates into exploita- 
tion “Jesus was in my humble opinion a prince among 
politicians You tell me that Jesus refrained fiom in- 
terference m politics I do not think so — ^but if you are 
right, the less Christian then was he To-day govern- 
ment affects every phase of life, it may threaten our 
very existence Interest in government must be re- 
garded as religious interest and we must insist on our 
governors obeying the laws of morality ” However, 
the daily job of the politician gives the Mahatma no 
thrill “Most/eligious men I have met are politicians 
in disguise I, who wear the guise of a politician, am 
at heart a religionist ” And harking back to his con- 
viction that in any campaign it is the underlying prin- 
ciple rather than the tactics that counts, he says, “My 
experiments in the political field have not had much 



MAHATMA GANDHI 


value ” He has exercised what Woodrow Wilson rec- 
ommended open diplomacy openly arrived at Gandhi’s 
own political life is an outstanding example of candor 
and idealism As Fulop-Miller says 

Never once m his whole life has Gandhi made use of secret 
negotiations, misleading explanations, tactical subterfuges, or 
surprise strokes He has rather ostracized from political life 
and stigmatized as disgraceful all this clandestine trafficking 
hitherto looked on as indispensable 

Convinced that only questionable schemes need fear the light 
of full publicity, he has always given his opponents notice 
beforehand of every step he is going to take, published full 
and truthful accounts of all deliberations, and never concealed 
or even tried to make excuses for a failure By this very 
unconditional straightforwardness he has succeeded in disarm- 
ing his enemies so that the Delhi Government finally had to 
abandon as useless all supervision of his actions by secret 
police 

Gandhi’s theory of government approaches much 
more nearly to that of ancient Confucius, who held that 
the will of Heaven was the will of the people, and in- 
spired the doctrine of the light of revolution (so sadly 
overworked in China), or to that of Thoreau from 
whom he got the term “civil disobedience” than it does 
to the despotism of India’s history “The people,” he 
says, “must do away with error and injustice of a state 
which aie expressed m the form of bad laws by enforc- 
ing the repeal of these enactments through voluntary 
acceptance of suffering ” It is therefore, not only nec- 
essary to transgress an unjust law, but also to accept 

r 4Q1 1 



EMINENT ASIANS 


the penalty which this transgression bungs Subjection 
to a rule which is founded on unjust premises he calls 
an “immoral barter for liberty/’ which must be opposed 
by “rebellion without any signs of violence ” 

Such lebellion cannot be accomplished until all feai 
of death has disappeared in the lebels, until, indeed, 
they have reached a state of spiritual exaltation wheie 
victory IS hardly more consequential to them than death 
Any tinge of the traditional revolutionary spirit, “It’s 
your life or ours,” means rum to it 

The moment of victory has come when there is no letort 
to the mad fury of the powerful We must, by our conduct, 
demonstrate to every Englishman that he is as safe in the 
remotest corner of India as he pi of esses to be behind his 
machine guns That moment will see a transformation m the 
English nature m its relation to India, and that moment will 
also be the moment when all the destructive cutlery in India 
will begin to rust 

“I cannot find it m my heart to hate any single Eng- 
lishman,” said Gandhi to the author in 1926 But 
it would seem that he has been somewhat disillusioned 
in his faith m the white man’s sense of fair play The 
mystic power of love, demonstrated in uniesisting mar- 
tyrdom, he believes powerful enough, however, to con- 
quer even an Anglo-Saxon He puts into effect the 
strategy of Christ — and the older Buddha “Man shall 
conquer anger by love, evil by good, avarice by gener- 
osity, and the liar by truth ” 

[ 492 ] 



MAHATMA GANDHI 


In this spiritualization Gandhi sees sure protection 
against Bolshevism 

If anything can possibly prevent this calamity descending 
on oui countiy, it is satyagraha (soul-force) Bolshevism is 
the necessary lesult of modern mateiialistic civilization Its 
insensate worship of matter has given rise to a school which 
has been brought up to look upon materialistic advancement 
as the goal and which has lost all touch with the final things 
of life If I can but induce the nation to accept satyagraha, 
we need have no fear of Bolshevik propaganda 

In fearlessness and restraint of even “nghteous” an- 
ger Gandhi finds the superior qualities dignif3ung the 
physically helpless Indian and entitling him to assume 
the position of the forgiver of his tyrant For, 

it IS only the stronger who can forgive the weaker Strength 
does not come from physical capacity It comes from in- 
domitable wrll We in India may in a moment realize that 
one hundred thousand Englishmen need not fiighten three 
hundred million human beings With a definite forgiveness 
must come a mighty wave of strength in us It may be 
that in other countries governments must be overthrown by 
brute force, but India will never gam her freedom by the 
fist For the destiny of this country is different from that 
of the other great empires India is predestined ^ exercise 
religious domination over the whole world , She needs no 
weapons of steel, she will win wholly and solely by soul-force 
I want India to recognize that she has a soul that cannot 
perish, and that can rise triumphant above every physical 
weakness and defy the physical combination of a whole world 
We have a message to give to the whole world I would 
gladly use the British race to spread our ideas over the earth, 

r493 1 



EMINENT ASIANS 

but this can only happen if we conquer our so-called con- 
querors by love 

It IS in this vinde sense — the sense of an Isaiah, not 
a Maccabeus or a Kemal or a Sun Yat-sen — that 
Gandhi supports nationalism “I work foi the fieedom 
of India, I was born in India, I inherited its culture 
and was created to serve my country But ray love 
for my country has not only no desire to mjme any 
' other nation — it rather aims at serving as best it can 
all other nations in the truest sense of the word ” In 
this interpretation of nationalism the Mahatma stands 
pretty much alone in to-day’s nationalist-mad world 
Such kmship as he does have is with a few liberated 
souls in Europe and America, and, in all the rest of 
Asia, with only the Christian Socialist Kagawa of 
Japan 

During most hectic political crises Gandhi could never 
forget that his prime purpose was cultural In Novem- 
ber, 1920, he founded the National University of 
Gujrat at his own home city of Ahmedabad It com- 
bined Hindu and Islamic cultures as its foundation, 
was dedicated to preservation of the dialects of India 
and the Persian language and to carry out a “system- 
atic study of Asiatic culture, ranking it as no less 
essential than the study of Western sciences Every 
Asiatic nation faces the alternatives of reverting to the 
ancient agricultural basis, transforming into industrial 
society, or trying to find some new combination of the 
two Gandhi’s aim was that his university should 

[494] 



MAHATMA GANDHI 

“build a new culture based on the traditions of the past 
and enriched by experiences of later times ” It was 
to be a tolerant and synthesized harmony of culture 
Beneath the university Gandhi founded a system of 
contributoiy schools taught by his disciples on his self- 
sacrificing plan The educational program was to ex- 
clude nothing except the spirit of exclusion 

Cultural breadth was to break down soaal arrogance 
“There is nothing untouchable m humanity/’ said the 
Mahatma As did Lenin, he believed that mass educa- 
tion would do away with caste feeling. Manual work — 
chiefly spinning — ^and student self-support as a matter 
of principal were policies of his educational system 
Rolland remarks that his institutions are more con- 
vents than schools True — from our conception of 

schools The model at Satyagraha Ashram requires 
the vows of absolute truth-telling and living, nonkilling, 
celibacy, appetite control, nonstealing (if one take more 
than the necessities of life he is stealing), nonuse of 
goods made by modern industry and of machinery, 
and fearlessness, even of criminals and wild animals 
Pupils are entirely separated through a ten-year course 
from their families A day and a half each week is 
given them for creative work according to th^ir owm 
genius Regardless of caste, they take their turn at 
the humblest work Lady Slade, daughter of the Brit- 
ish Admiral once commanding in Indian waters, who 
had come back for spiritual mentorship to the people 
she had been taught in her youth to disdam and who 

r49S 1 



EMINENT ASIANS 


was among the seekers of all races sitting at Gandhi’s 
feet, was gladly doing her assignment of scavenger 
work when the author visited the ashiam The sec- 
ondary language of Gandhi’s schools is English, and 
he has scandalized native oithodoxy by requiring read- 
ing of the New Testament 

Gandhi’s educational campaign is not confined to 
institutions His four greatest books, published by the 
tens of thousands, are parts of a definite mass educa- 
tional campaign They are Hmd Swaraj, his doctrine 
of individual and national self-rule, Ethical Religion, 
Guide to Eealth, and Adventures in Truth His in- 
tense human sympathies and his religious theories meet 
in his care for the physical needs of his people He is 
on perpetual crusade against dirt, and roundly con- 
demns the British government, in spite of all it has 
done, for tolerance of conditions conducive to plague 
and famine It would seem to have done much, but its 
own statistics are Gandhi’s best argument expenditure 
for military 30 per cent of the yearly revenue, for 
geneial administration 5 per cent , for civil works S per 
cent , education 5 per cent , irrigation 2 per cent ; 
forestation 2 per cent , other IS per cent 

One ol his strongest denunciations is against condi- 
tions on third class railway carnages He teaches from 
platform and through press that there must be ash-pails 
by every latrine, that food must be covered, that work 
is beneficial, that breathing should be done through the 
nose, that the upper reaches of streams should be for 

14961 



MAHATMA GANDHI 


drinking and the lower for washing and bathing, and 
that food should be well chewed He includes recipes 
for simple and tasty food in his sermons and religious 
and political magazines 

Gandhi, as every Indian, is not lacking in love of 
beauty He insists on the highest type sacred music 
obtainable at his ashram He will read and discuss 
even the love poetry of Tagore with insight and delight 
But true social reformer that he is, he must, like an- 
cient Confucius and recent Tolstoy, evaluate art pri- 
marily for its social, rather than its esthetic contri- 
bution He condemned Oscar Wilde, during whose 
sensational days Gandhi was a student in London, for 
“not shrinking from glorifymg the immoral’’ when he 
could do so in perfection of form One remembers 
Wilde’s “Happy Prince,” and how he could be a poet’s 
very picture of Mahatma Gandhi Or the humani- 
tariamsm of the “Ballad of Reading Gaol ” Human 
sympathy makes strange fellow workers in this world 

Gandhi’s program of education is designed to per- 
petuate the best of the native culture He makes no 
claim to perfection in the native life But he sees a 
fundamental possibility of perfection in it, just as he 
sees a fimdamental hopelessness m machine-ce*!tric so- 
ciety “Western civilization is godless, while Indian is 
permeated with faith in God ” He sums it up, “The 
time will come when the West will say ‘Oh> what have 
we done^’ ” Gandhi would have this culture perpetu- 
ated not only because it is Heaven’s special gift to Imjia 

[ 497 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


but pragmatically also because it is the only economic 
system fitted to India Factory production breaks up 
the village industiies, reducing the rural bulk of the 
population to poveity and vagiancy, while on the other 
hand Indians piove unable to compete m modern in- 
dustry with other nationals, become a prey to foreign 
exploitation, and see steady exportation of then national 
wealth It IS necessary to reintroduce simple home 
industry applying to the vast majority of the people 
hence the campaign for spinning 

In Gandhi’s tilt against the machine he will certainly 
lose Even now the great factory chimneys of Ahmeda- 
bad overshadow the thatched roofs of his ashram And 
from encouragement of the charka Swaraj is turning to 
development of great steel, cotton, and wool mills and 
tariff for protection of home industry The breakdown 
of the villages and industrialization of the cities must 
inevitably continue, as m every land on whose shores 
the all-conquering machine has gained a foothold But 
possibly his protest will have made his people know 
that the machine is made for man and not man for 
the machine, and save that terrible experience preced- 
ing the humanizing of industry suffered by Western 
societies And the campaign of the spinning wheel, in 
coordinating fhe economic activity of the nation to one 
end, may point the way to mass introduction of health 
information, improved agriculture, cooperative buying 
and marketing, and eventually, let us hope, population 
control. 


[ 498 ] 



MAHATMA GANDHI 

There remain, too, the spiritual fundamentals of 
Gandhi’s economic revolt, which may be found to apply 
even in a machine age, and for which he will be revered 
when the chm ka is forgotten that welfare is not synony- 
mous with profit, and that production, in filling the 
innate reqmrement of the human for expression through 
work, IS more important than product 

The truest light on Gandhi’s mind is his theological 
views His childhood rebellion against the scripturally 
endorsed degradation of one-fifth of the population 
compelled him to adopt an edectic attitude on ‘‘au- 
thority” His declarations would suit any Christian 
modernist 

My belief does not require me to accept every word and 
verse m the sacred writings as divinely inspired I decline 
to be bound by any interpretation, however learned it may be, 
if it IS repugnant to reason or moral sense I have no hesi- 
tation in rejecting scriptural authority of a doubtful character 
m order to support a sinful institution Indeed, I would re- 
ject all authority if it is in conflict with sober reason or the 
dictates of the heart The devil has always quoted scripture 
But scripture cannot transcend reason and truth It is in- 
tended to purify reason and illuminate truth 

Yet think not that this means Gandhi has ttte mind 
of the scientific modernist It accepts “revelation” 
more devotedly than the most conservative Tennessee 
fundamentahst Where such revelation clashes with 
his essential humanism Gandhi finds it unauthentic 
He IS an eclectic fundamentahst Only Asia could pro- 

r ^99 1 



EMINENT ASIANS 

duce such a phenomenon The Western mind must 
be too pettily consistent 

So Gandhi, while supporting the Caliph and teaching 
the New Testament in his schools, remains a faithful 
Hindu 

I can no moie describe my feeling foi Hinduism than for 
my own wife She moves me as no other woman m the world 
can Not that she has no faults I dare say she has many 
more than I see myself But the feeling of indissoluble bond 
is theie Even so I feel for and about Hinduism with all its 
faults and limitations Nothing elates me so as the music 
of the Gita or the Ramayana of Tulsidas, the two books of 
Hinduism I may be said to know I know that vice is going 
on to-day in all the Indian shrines, but I love them m spite 
of their unspeakable failings I am a leformei thiough and 
through But my zeal nevei takes me to a rejection of 
any of the essential things of Hinduism My faith offers 
me all that is necessaiy foi my inner development, for it 
teaches me to pray I am here in all humility to tell you 
that for me Hinduism, as I have found it, entirely satisfies 
my soul, fills my whole being, and that I find a solace in the 
Bhagavad Gita and in the Upanishads that I miss even in the 
Sermon on the Mount When disappointment stares me in 
the face and all alone I see not one ray of light I go to the 
Bhagavad Gita, I find a verse heie and a veise there, and I 
immediately begin to smile m the midst of overwhelming 
tragedier— and my life has been full of external tragedies — 
and if they hav^ left no visible, no unalterable scai upon me, 
I owe It to the Bhagavad Gita 

This IS a profession of the faith which scores of thou- 
sands of educated Hindus would make to-day, and to 
them the preaching of the missionary who thinks of 

r snn i 



MAHATMA GANDHI 


them as pagan idolaters or as heathen walking m dark- 
ness is very near an insult 

But I pray that every one may develop to the fullness of 
his being in his own religion, that the Christian may become 
a better Christian and the Muhammadan a better Muham- 
madan I am convinced that God will one day ask us only 
what we are and what we do, not the name we give to our 
being and doing 

“I would go to America,” Gandhi said to the author, 
I could go to help Americans rather than to be a 
show Your people are very tragic to me They will 
take the longest risks — exhibit the greatest heroism in 
the world in material adventures But they want their 
spiritual experiments insured against loss beforehand ” 

“They are bewildered,” I said “Maybe they would 
follow the true religion if they were told what it is ” 

“Definition enough for any one is this,” he replied, 
pausing with hand holding the spinnmg thread in mid- 
air, and laboriously bringing out the following phrases 
as he irregularly twirled the wheel “the conviction that 
I shall always live, as truly as I live now— and that 
I can better my condition Are the American people 
bewildered, or do they rather want spiritual attainment 
made easy for them as they are accustomed to have 
material attainment?” 

So the orthodox Hindu Gandhi, while condemning 
untouchability, presiding at great banquets where men 
and women of all castes eat from common bowls, adopt- 
ing scavenger and Muslem children at his ashram, and 

[SOI] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


preaching that “our being tieated as social lepers m 
piactically the whole woild is the spiritual consequence 
of our having treated a fifth of our own lace as such 
(we have driven the pariah fiom our midst and have 
justly become the pariahs of the British Empire)/’ 
none the less upholds the Brahman doctime of caste 
The eighty-four classes and thousands of sub-classes 
will, he says, disappear with social pressuie, but the 
four fundamental divisions must remain, although not 
involving nonintercourse He takes issue with Tagore 
“I am certainly against any attempt at destroying them 
The caste system is not based on inequality; there is 
no question of inferiority ” Caste is the proj'ecton in 
this world of the underlying principle of reincarnation, 
and “nature will, without any possibility of mistake, 
adjust the balance by degrading a Biahman, if he mis- 
behaves himself” in the next birth, or bringing back 
the good member of a lower caste into the next higher 
His tenacity to this Hindu socio-theology appears the 
more striking and honest in that India’s gum himself 
comes not from the highest caste and is reverent to the 
favored Brahmans who from the standpoint of char- 
acter and accomplishment may be just brash on the 
world’s" forehead 

One wondeb that this most tender of humanists can 
overlook the historic ongin of caste a system born of 
conquest— a “sanctified” way of keeping the conquered 
m subjection 

And Gandhi stands for cow protection' The writer 
f S02] 



MAHATMA GANDHI 


heard him promise devotees to procure Muslem assent 
to a higher slaughter tax on beef (abattoirs being in 
the hands of Musselmans) which the government, al- 
ways seeking revenue, would be quick to endorse 
Consequently less beef-buying, less killing of the 
sacred animal which m India needs adaption to man as 
much as the machine to us of the West But Gandhi 
would place the cow in which dwells divine life in the 
category with man, rather than with machmery And 
he deepens and spiritualizes the issue with a profound 
prmciple 

The central fact of Hinduism is cow protection, cow pro- 
tection to me IS one of the most wonderful phenomena in 
human evolution The cow to me means the entire sub- 
human world Man through the cow is enjomed to realize 
his identity with all that lives Why the cow was selected 
for apotheosis is obvious to me The cow in India was the 
best companion She was the giver of plenty Not only did 
she give milk, but she also made agriculture possible This 
gentle animal is a poem of pity Protection of the cow means 
the protection of the whole dumb creation of God AMmsa 
[nonkillmg — ^also nonviolence] is the gift of Hinduism to the 
world, and Hinduism will live as long as there are Hindus to 
protect the cow 


Even idols Gandhi finds place for as symbols After 
all, are not the cross of the Christian world and its 
New Jerusalem glorified idols? he asks Where these 
exist, the minds of their worshipers still need them 
Such sides to Gandhi make him seem a little estranged 

rS03] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


from us In the same degree they make him nearer 
his own people, and that is the important thing 

We have seen Gandhi’s resentment toward Christian 
mission activity as reflecting on the dignity of his race 
and culture — a feeling common to New Asians He 
made a further criticism before a missionary conference 
in Calcutta in 1925 “You give statistics of so many 
orphans cared for, so many adults won to Christianity 
. I do not feel convinced thereby that that is your 
mission In my humble opinion your mission is in- 
finitely superior It should be to find the man in India, 
and if you want to do that you will have to go to the 
lowly cottages not to give them something but probably 
to take something I miss that receptivity of mind, 
that humility, that will on your part to identify your- 
selves with the masses of India ” Doubtless the mis- 
sionaries have a good reply And it is significant that 
Gandhi’s European assistants have been drawn from 
the mission body into the humility he speaks of 
Stanley Jones, in his Chnst of the Indian Road, shows 
what tremendous influence Gandhi is having upon mis- 
sion endeavor in India and all Christian evangelism 
Out of Gandhi’s own experience comes his teaching 
as to sex The ideal is uncompromising conquest of 
the instinct so that even married couples come to live 
as brother and sister This bramacharya, in an at- 
mosphere of freest social intercourse, is strictly enforced 
at his ashram The spiritual principle has as always, 
he finds, its economic benefit, and the fundamental 

r j;04 1 



MAHATMA GANDHI 

material necessity of population control he would bring 
entirely through spiritual means “Is it right for us, 
who know the disease, famines, and pauperism of India, 
to bring forth children? We only multiply slaves and 
weaklings, imtil we have ameliorated India’s misery 
and suffering” Every report of a birth affects him 
painfully, and he calls upon an entire nation to reduce 
its number of marriages, and, m marriage, to practice 
perfect self-restraint and cease to procreate for the 
time being Here his social sense overrules the religious 
Hindu feeling that limitation of births interferes with 
the universal scheme of bringing souls back to earth 
to work out their salvation Gandhi has four sons, but, 
as in other matters, he is not ashamed to confess the 
unfortunateness of his example Will he, asks one, for 
the “weakness of his people,” concede to scientific birth 
control? Not likely, but he prepares the way for that 
innovation which must be the answer to the East’s 
prosperity and the world’s peace 

On child marnage, hke untouchability, he is not 
orthodox “I loathe and detest child marnage I 
shudder to see a child widow I have never known a 
grosser superstition than that the Indian climate causes 
sexual precocity What does brmg about untimely 
puberty is the mental and moral atmosfJhere surround- 
mg family life ” His own childhood sufferings had 
brought the attention of India’s samt to her most vul- 
nerable point long before an American lady joumahst 
made capital thereof. 


[SOS] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


He was nauseated and aroused by the picture of the 
life of prostitutes brought to him by a deputation of 
one hundred women from the brothels of Barisal, in 
Andhra Province He says he was able to read m 
the eyes of the speakers more than they daied tell 
him He consented to become then adviser and pro- 
tector Campaigning against piostitution he said, “The 
two hours I spent with these suffering sisters is a treas- 
ured memory to me I bowed my head in profound 
shame at their degradation I will far rather see the 
race of man extinct than that we should become less 
than beasts by making the noblest of God’s creation 
the object of our lust Of all the evils for which man 
has made himself responsible none is so degrading, so 
shocking, so brutal, as his abuse of the better half of 
humanity The female sex is the nobler of the two, 
for it is the embodiment of sacrifice, silent suffering, 
humility, faith, and knowledge ” We readily appre- 
hend to what extent his remorse over mistreatment of 
Kasturbai underlies the last statement 
There are disturbing narrownesses in Gandhi “We 
have nothing to learn from the foreigner The tra- 
ditional old implements, and plow and the spinning 
wheel, are our wisdom and welfare ” The Mahatma 
often speaks in hyperbole, which those who see his 
smile can understand but his readers may take too 
literally “I would have my windows open on the 
world,” he told Tagore Yet a Swarajist writer says 
“It is wrong to import others’ products and ideas and 

[ 506 ] 



MAHATMA GANDHI 

to export one’s own ” If Gandhi had never imported 
ideas — and never exported them (intentionally or 
otherwise) — he would not be the world’s mahatma 
to-day 

Gandhi is very different from Sun Yat-sen, Kemal, 
or Ito who took from the West for their people But 
he IS equaly different from the traditional yogi or fakir 
of his own India He is a product of Western mflueime 
on the East as muchais his contemporary nalion-makers 
in new Asia, but his eclectic mind chose differaitly o^ 
ol the West’s paradoscal civilizatmn His movement, 
as the able T L Vaswami defines, is “India’s return 
to herself, to her own culture, her own civilization, her 
loyalty to the law of hei own history, her genius, her 
own individuality, the God-given inspiration of her own 
life,” but it IS a remterpretation of India’s ancient the- 
oretic idealism in terms of human welfare taken clearly 
from the practical-mmded West “To a people famine- 
ridden and idle the only form in which God dare appear 
is work and wages,” is a startling addition to the sutras. 
It IS of a part with the accusations of Westernized Ka- 
gawa and his “social Christians” in Japan “the church 
says, ‘we take responsibility for your future but cannot 
be concerned with your present ’ ” 

Triflia. was floundering m the morass t>f her own tra- 
ditions when Gandhi came Out of these he has or- 
ganized a coherent doctrine and a forward movement, 
salted with the definiteness of the Sermon on the Mount, 
applied with the pragmatism and vigor of the West, 

[ 507 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


and inspired by Ms own sacrificing life He lias taught 
India what she wants m her inmost soul and what 
she must do to get it Wliether his method is followed 
and the ideal result is attained or not, he must go down 
as the creator of the Indian Nation that shall eventu- 
ally emerge He has made the masses of India a factor 
m the struggle Politicoes could never reach them — ■ 
that required a saint Says the Leader of Allahabad 
“The vast depths of immobility are heaving with life 
The lesson of self-reliance has gone home and the whole 
nation has been taught that what it would have it will 
I have to strive for and that nothing is worth having 
I which has not been won by one’s own efforts ” 

Even in his mistakes Gandhi succeeds, as Blanche 
Watson phrases it “They have been few — and they, 
too, have ‘worked ’ A man who says that he would 
rather be ‘right with God’ though that meant wrong 
with all his friends, who seeks, and apparently receives, 
divine guidance, who is not afraid to retiace his steps 
— such a man cannot but succeed m the end” Of 
course it is a long end “I can wait forty, or four 
hundred years — it is the same to me,” he said to the 
author “Life goes on forever — ^we all persist m some 
form and inevitably victory is ours ” Here he is su- 
preme over us 'of the West, who cannot wait, and to 
whom life is not forever, but a lifetime 
The Mahatma, says Tagore, “is the liberated ego 
which discovers itself in aU other souls ” — “I cannot 
say,” sayB Gandhi in characteristic English argot, “that 

[S 08 ] 



MAHATMA GANDHI 

the title has ever tickled me I have felt sick at the 
adulation of the crowd ” But it is justified adulation 
C F Andrews, whose critical sense is not dim, ob- 
serves “Almost perfect selflessness enables Gandhi to 
see more truly and clearly than other men and to real- 
ize his clear vision with unrivaled resoluteness ” In his 
later career he has lived up to the evaluation of Gokhale, 
who passed to him the torch of Indian leadership “He 
is, without doubt, of the stuff of which heroes and 
martyrs are made Nay more He possesses the mar- 
velous spiritual power of turning ordinary men aroimd 
him into heroes and martyrs ” His personal life is 
nearer the standard of Him who challenged “Who 
among you convicteth Me of sin?” than any other seen 
in our time 

Thfe life will be for all men of all ages to come Re- 
main Rolland envisions a special contribution to our im- 
mediate post-war age “The world is swept by the wmd 
of violence Each people kills the other in the name 
of the same pnnciples, behind which all hide the same 
covetousness and Garnish instincts All, be they na- 
tionalists, fascists, bolshevists, members of the op- 
pressed classes, members of the oppressing classes, claim 
that they have the nght to use force, while refusing 
this right to others ” Better force than’cowardice, says 
Gandhi, but force defeats itself “Who will prove this 
faith? And how, in an unbelieving world? Faith is 
proved by action Europe, bled by wars and revolutions, 
impoverished and exhausted, despoiled of her prestige 

[ 509 ] 



EMINENT ASIANS 


m the eyes of Asia, which she formerly oppressed, can- 
not long resist on Asiatic soil the aspirations of the 
awakened peoples of Islam, India, China, and Japan 
But this would mean little, no matter how rich and 
new might be the harmonies which a few more nations 
would bring to the human symphony, this would mean 
little, if the surging spirit of Asia did not become the 
vehicle for a new ideal of life and of death, and what 
is more, of action for all humanity This is India’s 
great message to the world It is the clarification of 
the age’s problem of the place of force ” Blanche 
Watson, American interpreter, sees the same angle of 
Gandhi’s work “The political fortunes of the non- 
cooperation struggle will have their ebb and flow, bat- 
tles will be lost and battles won If Gandhi should 
be taken away the Gandhi idea will persist, and its 
constructive working out in different parts of the world 
will furnish the necessary counter-balance to the vio- 
lence and blood-lust of the West’” I would add — of 
the lusty new East as well 

Gandhi is greatest of the makers of Asia, because, 
unlike the other makers, he would sacrifice his nation’s 
hope of independence rather than commit one act of 
violence or chicanery to attain it He is the world’s 
unique leader, rts modern prophet of the gospel of love, 
whose spiritual descent is through the Buddha, Mo Ti, 
Jesus of Nazareth, St Francis of Assisi, and Tolstoy 
Such men last longer than their immediate causes, and 
become a factor bearing upon every cause that stirs 

[ 510 ] 



MAHATMA GANDHI 


humanity after them Gandhi may be the George r- 
Washington to the new Indian nation of the twentieth// 
century, but long after thi^now preo^qus hop e shai yf 
I^ve materializedj^ flourished, and slipped into thf 
shadows like Asoka’s empire, he will remain a CMsi. 
to peoples of many heritages — the Messiah of_&e 
Meeting of the Races. 

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